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Published October 31, 1995
ABC: Cap Cities/ABC reported third quarter net income dropped 5% on costs related to the Disney merger and settlement of a lawsuit with Philip Morris. Excluding those costs, the broadcaster said net income rose 17%, largely on gains at ABC and ESPN. Revenue for the ABC network increased moderately, while ESPN showed "significant gains," according to the report (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/31). ABC also renewed its exclusive contract with America Online for one year. Questions remain on how Disney will affect ABC's online presence. ABC expressed an ongoing desire to "cross-platform" with other services and said they would continue to experiment with the Web (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 10/30). CBS: CBS's earnings "will plummet lower than expected this year, due primarily to ratings shortfalls," according to SEC documents filed in conjunction with Westinghouse's acquisition of the network cited by ELECTRONIC MEDIA. Diane Mermigas reports CBS projects income from continuing operations to decline 39% from $281.6M ($3.74 a share) in '94 to $171.1M ($2.64 a share) in '95. The 8% drop in net sales is attributed to the absence of broadcast rights to the NFL or Olympics. Some analysts predict CBS' performance could be worsened by make-goods to advertisers for poor '95 prime-time ratings (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 10/30 issue). FOX: Fox's NFL coverage is averaging a 11.6 rating and a 29 share, up 4% from the same point a year ago. Meanwhile, NBC's NFL coverage is averaging a 10.2/24, down 14%. Fox execs attribute the gap to more competitive NFC games and a strong performance in major markets such as Dallas. One NBC spokesperson noted that the NFC has beaten the AFC for years and called last year an "extraordinary situation" (Jon Lafayette, ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 10/30 issue). NBC: Yesterday, NBC and Anheuser-Busch announced their first international advertising agreement -- a four-year, multimillion dollar sponsorship of sports and entertainment programming on NBC's international properties. The agreement is effective January '96. Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch VP/Corporate Media and Sports Marketing, noted A-B is the first advertiser in NBC's "Global Bonus Dividend Program" -- which provides sponsors who participate in the upfront season with coupons redeemable for airtime on NBCs international properties (NBC/Anheuser-Busch).