Time Warner begins its interactive experiment in Orlando on
Wednesday. The Orlando system "is undoubtedly the most
futuristic network introduced so far" (Edmond Andrews, N.Y.
TIMES, 12/12). Analyst Martyn Roetter of Decision Resources
estimates that interactive TV could be a $300B business. "But,
he says, less than 10% of that will materialize in the next five
to seven years" (BUSINESS WEEK, 12/19 issue)....With NBC
challenging Fox in a FCC petition alleging foreign-ownership,
Republican Rep. Michael Oxley, a member of the House
telecommunications committee, plans to file a bill to overturn
the limits on foreigners owning U.S. broadcast networks (W.S.
JOURNAL, 12/12). In Boston, Frederic Biddle writes that the
fight "might make the broadcast networks ripe for foreign
ownership -- a replay of what happened to Hollywood's movie
studios. Or it might stop upstart Fox in its tracks" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 12/11).... Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan is profiled in
the L.A. TIMES. One cable exec: "He's like Darth Vader dressed
up in a Howdy Doody outfit" (L.A. TIMES, 12/11)....Asked how much
has the baseball and hockey situations affected major ad
agencies, Bruce Mason, CEO & Chair of Foote, Cone & Belding,
replied: "The networks by and large have scrambled to replace
the audience loss with different programming -- so, very little"
("Bloomberg Business News," 12/12).
"How spooked is TSN by CTV's plans to start up a rival
Canadian sports channel (with regional programming)?," asks
William Houston in Toronto. "Insiders say TSN is particularly
concerned about the huge B.C. lower mainland market and the fact
that TSN prime time on the West Coast consists of canned
progamming from Toronto." TSN is seriously considering renting
studio space in Vancouver to do their 11:00pm (ET) sports news
show. CTV's proposed regional channel, yet to be approved by the
government, would provide local programming in four regions of
Canada (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/10).
LABATT EXPANDING? John Labatt Ltd., parent company of TSN,
would like to "bolster its broadcast business but it has been a
tough slog to find a takeover candidate," according to Labatt
President George Taylor. Instead, Labatt is expanding its
broadcast and related production holdings internally (Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL, 12/10).
Sports-Tech Int'l, a company that makes computerized video-
editing systems for sports teams, said Friday it is being
acquired by Dainichi Electronics of Tokyo for $1.1M. The sale
could be completed by next August. Dainichi Electronics is a
semiconductor maker with about $100M in annual sales (James
McNair, MIAMI HERALD, 12/10).