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BABY BELLS-OVITZ PROJECT GETS A NAME, TELE-TV
Published May 10, 1995
Before 800 members of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society, officials of a new Baby Bells venture into programming gave their new company a name -- TELE-TV --"and told Hollywood's creative community that they are open for business," according to this morning's L.A. TIMES. The panel representing the new company, TELE-TV President Sandy Grushow, Chair Howard Stringer, CAA Chair Michael Ovitz and the CEOs of Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis, announced that before fully upgrading the wiring to their customers' homes, they would launch programming by late '96 via a wireless transmission. To meet that date, TELE-TV "will have to begin making deals for programming almost immediately" (Saylor & Hofmeister, L.A. TIMES, 5/10). REUTERS' Kevin Smith reports that TeleTV claims its service will be in 20 million homes by the end of '97, with the Baby Bells installing the wireless technology "similar to cellular phone systems" in six of the seven largest urban areas next year ("Nightly Business Report," PBS, 5/9). NEWS FROM DALLAS: The National Cable Television Association continued its meeting in Dallas yesterday. FCC Chair Reed Hundt, whose agency "has been the bane of the cable-TV industry" since it forced cable companies to freeze rates, told the gathering that if Congress doesn't pass a Telecom bill this year, cable execs can expect more pro-consumer and pro-competition actions by the FCC (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/10)....The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mark Robichaux writes that the cable industry sees itself in the "wild, wild West" -- with the FCC as the "tough sheriff" and a looming "deadly showdown" with telephone companies (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/10)....A survey soon to be released by investment firm Morgan Stanley shows that the cable industry "could lose half its customers to telcos once they start offering video services." The survey assumes similar pricing, which the cable industry disputes. But Morgan Stanley telco analyst Stephanie Comfort told the NCTA that cable customers "are not happy and are willing to switch" (DAILY VARIETY, 5/10 issue).