SBD/9/Sports Media

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  • ESPNET SPORTZONE ESTABLISHES ITSELF AS HOT SPOT ON THE WEB

         Starwave, after "more than a year of spinning its wheels,"
    has gone "into overdrive" and the Paul Allen-backed company's
    partnership with ESPN "could push interactive advertising to new
    levels," writes Charles Waltner in the latest issue of AD AGE.
    ESPN is seeking more than $1M each for six to eight sponsorship
    spots on its ESPNET SportZone service.  That rate covers all of
    ESPN's services, including SportZone and "most likely a continued
    presence on Prodigy."  ESPN is also "anxiously awaiting" the
    addition of Allen's Ticketmaster service to SportZone (AD AGE,
    5/8 issue).
         A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS:  In a release, ESPN reports that
    since its debut at the Final Four on April 1, ESPNET SportZone
    has been accessed by an average of 50,000 different users per day
    and "set new records for usage, exceeding 1.5 million hits per
    day." (A hit is defined as a single user calling up a single
    page.)  Starwave VP Online Services Tom Phillips:  "SportZone
    users are spending more than 15 minutes online per visit, which
    demonstrates the tremendous depth and breadth of sports content."
    ESPN Enterprises VP Tom Hagopian noted the potential of SportZone
    as a "marketing vehicle":  "ESPNET SportZone offers advertisers
    the power of interactive communication, which allows them to
    combine the elements of advertising, direct response and
    promotion to a desirable, hard-to-reach audience."  ESPNET Senior
    Coordinating Producer Eric Schoenfeld:  "We have limitless
    potential for expansion -- unlike television we have no
    constraints" (ESPN).
         WHAT'S NEXT?  In Toronto, Geoffrey Rowan notes that only
    Penthouse and Playboy's Web sites have more visitors than
    SportZone.  Starwave Product Manager Brian Raitzliff said
    "broadband" -- full interactive, video services -- is the
    "ultimate goal," as well as "the user being in control" (Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 5/9).  ESPN Enterprises was one of 13 companies to
    disclose tentative plans for software and services for
    Microsoft's interactive TV venture, according to the computer
    company (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/9).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Microsoft, Media, Ticketmaster, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTES

         For the second time in 10 months, Prime Sports-West has been
    awarded a cable piracy judgment against British-American
    Communications, a wireless company serving several Southern CA
    suburbs (Prime Sports)....In St. Louis, Dan Caesar calls the
    awarding of Rams radio rights to KSD for $25M over seven years
    ($3.57M a year) "the biggest upheaval in local sportscasting"
    since the Cardinals changed from KSDK-TV to KPLR in '88.  KSD
    outbid local sports powerhouse KMOX by $1.1M per year.  Bob
    Costas, who got his start on KMOX, compared it to Fox outbidding
    CBS for NFL rights.  But Caesar reports, "Industry sources doubt
    KSD can make money on the deal" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
    5/9)....The first venture of CBS/Fox Co. and the NHL's exclusive
    worldwide video deal will be the "Official 1995 Stanley Cup
    Championship Video," which will be rolled out on July 28
    (CBS/FOX)....In another move to give a unified look,
    SportsChannel has announced that all pre-game shows on its
    regionals will be called "GAME TIME."  SportsChannel also debuted
    a new logo this week (SportsChannel)....NBC's Magic-Bulls game
    drew a 13.3 rating/25 share on Sunday (WASHINGTON POST, 5/9).
    Mike Heistand notes that the final 15 minutes (with Jurassic Park
    as a lead-out) drew a 20.4.  With a 2.5 overnight, Fox's NHL
    coverage was up 19% from ABC's last year.  The Kentucky derby
    drew only a 6.4 -- its lowest national rating ever (USA TODAY,
    5/9)....Classic Sports President Steve Greenberg, before flipping
    the switch to kick off the new cable channel:  "This is much
    better than being a lawyer, and even better than being deputy
    commissioner of baseball."  In New York, Richard Sandomir writes,
    "Classic has the potential to be mesmerizing" (N.Y. TIMES,
    5/9)....ESPN will begin an "advertising blitz" for its Extreme
    Games, to be held June 24-July 1 in RI (ESPN).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Chicago Bulls, ESPN, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports, Media, St. Louis Rams, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • NETWORK NEWS: CABLE HONCHOS MEET IN DALLAS

         Speaking at a panel at the opening of the National Cable
    Television Association in Dallas, Time Warner Chair Gerald Levin
    said it is not Generation X, but Generation Y, which will "be the
    big driver of the multitude of new media offerings cable
    operators hope to offer in the next decade" (INSIDE MEDIA ONLINE,
    5/9).  Levin also hinted at possible alliances with long-distance
    carriers and criticized Washington and Wall Street for doubting
    cable's potential for success in the telephone business (VARIETY,
    5/9).  But most of the talk at Cable 95 was on the cable
    industry's emergence in the online world -- with demonstrations
    of new technology to allow consumers to log on to online services
    through their cable wire and enjoy much faster transmissions of
    data,images and video.  In Washington, Elizabeth Corcoran writes,
    "The new technology could threaten the telephone companies"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 5/9).  In New York, Mark Landler writes, "Cable
    wants to be your pathway to cyberspace" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).
    Manufacturers such as Zenith, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard and
    Scientific Atlanta believe hundreds of thousands of PC owners
    will have cable modems by the end of 1996 (David Lieberman, USA
    TODAY, 5/9).
         TURNER TURNS NICE PROFIT:  Coverage of the O.J. Simpson
    trial is credited with Turner Broadcasting's strong 1stQ
    earnings.  The company reported a profit of $22M for the period
    ended March 31, up from a loss of $14M for the same period in
    '94.  Sales "were up dramatically" -- to $710M, from $567 in the
    1stQ of '94.  A doubling of viewership for CNN was "a significant
    factor," according to Turner spokesperson Kitsie Riggall (Bill
    Husted, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/9).  Numerous reports this
    morning have TBS in discussions with King World Productions on a
    possible buyout.  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER noted that gaining
    control of King World -- distributor of such syndicated
    programming as "Oprah" and "Wheel of Fortune" -- would give Ted
    Turner $500M in cash for a possible run at CBS (Geraldine
    Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).  However, a WALL STREET JOURNAL
    profile of Turner Broadcasting sees the company changing its
    focus "from splashy mergers and acquisitions to current
    operations" (Anita Sharpe, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/9).
         CBS, GROUP W MERGER?  There is continued speculation on a
    "marriage" between CBS and Westinghouse's Group W, according to
    the latest ELECTRONIC MEDIA.  While the two soon will launch a
    joint sales effort, some are skeptical that Westinghouse has the
    ability to raise the $4-5B needed to buy CBS (Diane Mermigas,
    ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 5/8 issue).
         MORE INTERACTIVITY:  GTE and Cablevision are partnering to
    launch GTE's interactive TV network -- mainStreet -- to 300
    Cablevision homes on Long Island.  According to DAILY VARIETY,
    the venture "marks the first time that two-way cable will be used
    in such a test" (VARIETY, 5/9 issue).
         COX STOCK SALE:  Cox Communications plans to sell 10 million
    Class A common shares in an effort to "raise money to upgrade its
    cable systems."  The funds would also allow Cox to offer
    customers new services, such as telephone communications
    (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/9).
    

    Print | Tags: ATT, Cablevision, CBS, GTE, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Viacom
  • NOTRE DAME LEGENDS TO LIVE ON IN CYBERSPACE

         NBC has launched a digital network that will "develop,
    package, promote, market and distribute" products using NBC video
    programming for CD-ROM, according to Thomas Tyrer in the current
    issue of ELECTRONIC MEDIA.  NBC, which is developing 10 titles
    now, will have several of its programming divisions participate.
    NBC Sports is currently participating in the development of "The
    Fighting Irish: The History of Notre Dame Football," and a line
    of '96 Summer Games-related CD-ROMs (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 5/8
    issue).
    

    Print | Tags: NBC, Media
  • SI CLIPS RED WINGS COVER OVER LIGHTING ISSUE

         Photographers at Sunday's Red Wings playoff opener at Joe
    Louis Arena "had the plug pulled" on their strobe lights, with
    one result being that a Sports Illustrated photographer was not
    able to get a quality color shot of Red Wings star Paul Coffey
    for the magazine's cover.  Without the photos, SI Managing Editor
    Mark Mulvoy not only took Coffey off the cover, he pulled the
    whole story.  Mulvoy, who sent a "pointed letter" to NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman, told the AP:  "This was the perfect
    time for a hockey cover.  This is the type of shortsighted
    thinking that pervaded the league during the John Ziegler years.
    I'm sure Bettman will fix it.  But for now, it's unfortunate."  A
    league source said the problem will be fixed and that the league
    was "not happy" to hear that it caused them to lose the SI cover
    (Viv Bernstein, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/9).
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Red Wings, NHL, Sports Illustrated, Media, Time Warner
  • SONY READY TO JOIN RCA IN MINI-DISH MARKET

         Sony Corp. will begin selling "turkey-tray shaped" mini
    satellite dishes next month, joining Thomson Consumer
    Electronic's RCA in the market.  The prices of Sony's three
    dishes will range between $750-950.  Like RCA's dishes, Sony's
    will be programmed by Hughes Electronic's DirecTV and Hubbard
    Broadcasting's USSB.  In an exclusive deal with Hughes, RCA had
    sole rights to the market for the first 1 million dishes sold or
    18 months, which ever came first (AP/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
    5/9).
    

    Print | Tags: DirecTV, Media
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