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OLYMPIC MEGADEAL II: THE SPIN DOCTORS ARE IN
Published December 13, 1995
Reaction to the deal was mixed, as most praised the IOC while holding out judgement on the purchase by NBC. Some "skeptics question whether NBC could make money on such a high rights fees, given the uncertainties of where video technology and the advertising marketplace will be more than a decade from now" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/13). NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay calls it "a gamble," citing the uncertain economic future. One TV exec: "I'd hate to be the forecasters trying to estimate the marketplace: What will the ratings be with more and more channels? What's the impact of computers and interactive media?" Zipay writes without a U.S. site, ratings "are a risk" (NEWSDAY, 12/13). Analyst Dennis McAlpine, of Josephthal Lyon & Ross, said there is "cache" to NBC being called the "Olympic network," adding,. "There is also obviously a very strong benefit to attracting NBC's advertisers, because it's a venue that they can show them" ("Moneyline," CNN, 12/12). In Baltimore, Milton Kent calls it a "significant commitment of cash and time" at a time when there are rumors a possible stake in the network is for sale. Kent notes the announcement makes NBC and its stations "more attractive to potential buyers" (Baltimore SUN, 12/13). Richard Sandomir writes NBC's "wager is that the power of Olympic programming outweighs the risk of its future payments" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). HAPPY AFFILS: Others say the deal should help NBC "lock in the remaining 10% or so of its 215 affiliates that haven't yet signed long-term deals." NBC is likely to buy more TV stations pending approval of telecommunications legislation (Elizabeth Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/13).