SBD/6/Sports Media

CABLE LEADERS WARN COMPANIES TO WATCH RATE INCREASES

          NCTA President Decker Anstrom urged cable companies "to
     hold prices down to keep the government from changing its
     mind about deregulation," according to the AP's Jeanine
     Aversa.  Anstrom made his remarks at the NCTA Show in
     Atlanta.  Most recent figures show that cable TV prices rose
     7.9% for the 12-month period ending March 31, a period
     during which overall inflation rose "just" 1.4%.  Anstrom:
     "There is not a speech I give or a meeting I have in which I
     don't say to the industry: 'Look, you need to be really,
     really careful about price increases.  We know there is a
     sensitivity there both with our customers as well as policy-
     makers."  Also in Atlanta, FCC Chair Bill Kennard "reminded"
     cable companies that his agency "has an obligation to
     protect consumers," and "urged" them to "show restraint"
     when considering rate increases (AP/PHIL. INQUIRER, 5/6).
          CONVENTION NOTES: TCI CEO John Malone told reporters
     yesterday that he "will refuse" to pass through the HDTV
     formats that CBS and NBC have selected.  Malone: "I'm not
     saying I can't technically carry it, but I'm not going to
     voluntarily do it.  It's not the wave of the future, it's a
     spectrum hog" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/6).  TCI "tried to
     soften" Malone's words later in the day, issuing a statement
     that its next "generation" of cable decoder boxes will be
     "capable of passing through" all HDTV formats.  But TCI
     "stopped short of guaranteeing it would pick up those
     signals" (USA TODAY, 5/6)....USA TODAY's David Lieberman
     examines Ted Turner's future in the cable TV industry:
     "Turner still has his passions, of course.  Yet it's hard to
     see them reflected in Time-Warner's business plans.  It's
     too risky to indulge in maverick ideas in a world of huge
     conglomerates where companies that compete in one business
     must co-exist as partners in another. ... Meanwhile,
     Turner's life-long dream of owning one of the broadcast
     networks is slipping away unfulfilled" (USA TODAY, 5/6)

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