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ACTV through its subsidiary, the Los Angeles Interactive Network, tested its interactive programming service in conjunction with Prime Ticket-West during Monday's Lakers-Sonics game. The service, which allows viewers to choose camera angles, call up statistics, and select instant replay was also avaliable during last night's Kings-Jets game and will be available during tonight's Kings-Blackhawks game. ACTV President William Samuels: "We are on target to expand the test to include 1,000 homes by September" (ACTV).
After investigating the holdings of News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch since late '93, FCC regulators "have decided against forcing" him to resturcture his company to comply with foreign- ownership rules. An FCC staff recommendation had urged that News Corp. reduce it ownership stake in the eight TV stations that form the nucleus of Fox TV. One FCC official: "The staff recommendation is dead." The ruling is a "crucial victory" to Murdoch in what has been "a serious legal threat to his empire." The FCC is expected to ask for public comment on whether News Corp. should receive a waiver (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 5/3).
The Magic Television Network, the in-house production arm that broadcasts nearly all of the team's away games, is "boosting the team's bottom line," according to Gene Yasuda in this morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL. Magic TV revenue "has soared 172% from three years ago and "now accounts for 10% of the Orlando Magic Ltd.'s overall revenue." With the NBA's growing popularity, NBA teams are "cashing in" on TV revenues by bringing TV operations in-house. In fact, more than half of the NBA teams "independently produce and help broadcast at least some of their games." Magic Dir of Broadcasting John Cook: "Not only does it allow us to control our commercial rates, we can also promote the FanAttic store if we want to." The team develops programming and the Magic Network debuted two programs this year, a 30-minute pre-game show, and a weekly Magic Magazine. These shows give the team "additional opportunity to sell commercial slots," and rates for spots commercials have increased by 60% as ratings for the Magic road games have "nearly tripled" over the past three years. But in-house broadcasting is not for every team, as franchises "that aren't doing well" have left the work to the broadcasters. Bullets Dir of PR Matt Williams: "With a rights fee, you get a lump check and have nothing to worry about. When you bring it in-house, you're on the line to sell the product" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/2).
Viacom announced a profit for the 1st quarter in large part due to the acquisitions of Paramount Communications and Blockbuster Entertainment. Viacom reported revenue of $2.7B and net earnings of $71M for the first three months of '95 (Mult., 5/3).....N.Y. POST's Phil Mushnick on the Nike logo on the Foxbots: "If Nike, proud sponsor of the NHL, held a genuine regard for the game, it would insist that its logo not be used to create an obstructed view of the game" (N.Y. POST, 5/3)....Through 13 games, Turner Sports' NBA playoff ratings are up 18% from last year with an average of 2.6. The biggest draw was Knicks/Cleveland on Monday night which ot a 4.5....ESPN's NASCAR race Sunday gained a 5.2 rating (Michael Heistand, USA TODAY, 5/3).