NETWORK NEWS: CABLE HONCHOS MEET IN DALLAS
Published May 9, 1995
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).