SBD/Issue 132/Sports Media

Media Notes's Staci Kramer cites sources as indicating that the Walt Disney Co. "could wind up with an equity stake in Hulu in exchange for adding ABC programming to the NBC Universal-News Corp joint venture." A source said that "all Disney content has been discussed but it centers on ABC." Kramer notes other Disney programming possibilities for Hulu "could include ESPN and, if not the Disney Channel, some offshoots." NBC Universal and News Corp. currently each own 45% of Hulu, and a source said that one plan is for Disney to "get something close to parity with the media companies, possibly with performance incentives" (, 3/27).


CAPTION, MY CAPTION: On Long Island, Neil Best writes for a network "praised for its Mets announcers and extras such as in-game interviews ... it is a glaring, hard-to-figure omission" that SportsNet N.Y. "does not provide captioning for the hard of hearing." The FCC "provides new channels burdened with start-up costs four years to institute captioning, so SNY is in the clear" through the middle of next March. However, YES Network featured closed captioning when it debuted in '02, as did MLB Net upon its debut January 1. SNY Senior Dir of Communications Andrew Fegyveresi: "There are many improvements that we plan to make -- and continue to make -- at SNY, and closed captioning is certainly one that is in our plans" (NEWSDAY, 3/27).

LOSING A DEMO: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley notes some TV execs are "scratching their heads about the recent disappearance" of men 18-34 "in terms of sports television viewing." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecasts this season on Fox are down 11% among all viewers, but down 25% among men 18-34. Meanwhile, ESPN2's Nationwide Series coverage is down 10% in all HHs, but down 38% among men 18-34. And CBS' coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament is up 2% overall, but down 11% in the demo (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/27).

DIGITAL DESTINATION: VP Damon Phillips, when asked if visits to ESPN360 increase during work hours, said, "We have a theory at ESPN called best available screen. I'm sure, given a choice, you're going to want to go somewhere or watch TV at home on your 50-inch screen, but everybody can't do that." Phillips said ESPN wants the service to be "relevant to sports fans, bringing quality and video over your Internet connection" (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/25).

MLB NOTES: A record 126 Astros games this season will be broadcast in HD. FS Houston will offer 123 of its 147 Astros telecasts in HD, while KTXH-MYT will air three of its nine Astros games in HD (FSN)....FS Ohio for the '09 MLB season will air 100 of its 145 Reds games in HD, an increase from 71 games in HD last year (, 3/24).

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