In Los Angeles, Steve Weinstein examines Fox's first year of
covereage of the NFL, writing that "the many-pronged payoffs from
that massive investment have been both triumphal and
disappointing." John Mansell, senior analyst for Paul Kagan &
Associates, notes that Fox will lose "as much as half a billion
dollars over the course of the four-year deal with the NFL."
But, Mansell adds that what the network has succeeded in doing is
to "build a major domestic and international network, by
attracting stronger affiliates in major markets all over the
country." Ratings for Fox/NFC games are down 5% from last season
on CBS, while NBC/AFC games are up about 13%. Weinstein writes,
"Part of Fox's problem may be the on-field competition this
season. The AFC has it; the NFC -- though it boasts of pro
football's two best teams -- doesn't." However, Fox has won the
war of the pregame shows "by a wide margin" (L.A. TIMES, 12/22).
Liberty Sports, Inc. has reached agreement with the NCAA's
newest, but as yet unnamed, athletic conference -- giving Liberty
Sports national and regional telecasts rights to live football
beginning in 1996 through 2000. The conference has ten
universities, including Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Memphis,
Southern Miss, and Tulane. Lane Rawlings, President of
University of Memphis and Chair of the new conference: "The
Liberty Sports agreement provides the new conference with instant
credibility. In addition to revenue, conference members will
gain national and regional television exposure each week that
will benefit their football programs" (Liberty).
Sony Corp. of America will enter the market for 18-inch
satellite dishes and receivers as early as June, challenging
Thomson Consumer Electronics Inc. "in what has become one of the
consumer-electronics industry's fastest-growing product areas."
Sony will unveil their dish at the Consumer Electronics Show in
Las Vegas early next month. The satellite system now being sold
is manufactured exclusively by RCA owner Thomson. The
exclusivity period ends in December 1995, or after RCA has sold
one million units -- whichever comes first. RCA has already sold
more than 500,000 units, and the company estimates surpassing one
million units sometime in mid-1995. It is unclear whether Sony's
entry will result in lower prices for consumers. One industry
analyst: "They aren't known for making low-cost goods" (Jeffrey
Trachtenberg, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/23).