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MAJOR MEDIA DEALS: BIG NAMES ESTABLISH ASIAN PRESENCE
Published June 14, 1995
ESPN has said that "it plans to tackle more Asian markets with customized programming in native languages," according to today's DAILY VARIETY. Yesterday, the cable network launched a programming and production center in Singapore that will produce three separate language and program feeds for India, greater China and southeast Asia. According to a release, the new service will carry U.S.-based programming as well as international events "relevant to each region." ESPN currently provides Cantonese, Mandarin and English commentary, with Hindi and Bahasa Indonesia to be added later (REUTERS/VARIETY, 6/14). BETTER RED THAN IN THE RED? Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. yesterday announced the formation of a joint venture with Beijing's People's Daily newspaper, long known as the "throat and tongue" of the Chinese Communist Party. Among the potential projects of the new partnership, called Beijing PDN Xinren Information Technology Co., are electronic publishing and online information (N.Y. POST, 6/14). The deal "represents an important breakthrough for News Corp.," in Asia and could lead to joint ventures in newspapers and TV (Tony Walker, FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/14). TOP LABATT BIDDERS: Jerry Rosenfeld, Managing Partner at Lazard Freres & Co., financial adviser to Intrebew SA, which has bid C$2.7B for Labatt, profiled the likely bidders for Labatt's broadcast holdings. A group including management of sports channel TSN, as well as ESPN, "doesn't have its financing 'absolutely certain yet,'" according to Rosenfeld. Baton Broadcasting "has yet to raise the money." And CanWest Global Communications "probably has the money but hasn't yet gotten to a price level that is acceptable to us" (Marina Strauss, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/14). MULTIMEDIA AUCTION: Bidders for diversified media concern, Multimedia Inc., have been given a June 21 deadline to submit offers. Top bidders include a consortium that includes NBC, TCI's Intermedia and Media General, and a group led by Ellis Communications, parent company of Raycom. Multimedia's holdings include TV stations, daily newspapers, syndicated talks shows such as "Donahue" and "Sally Jessy Raphael," and cable systems (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 6/14). DREAM DEAL: The Spielberg-Geffen-Katzenberg DreamWorks studio granted exclusive distribution rights to Seagram's newly-acquired MCA. In addition to international distribution of films, videos and music, MCA theme parks will have exclusive rights to "characters and concepts" from DreamWorks productions (John Durie, N.Y. POST, 6/14).