In an "unsettling" decision for Dolphins fans in Central FL,
the NFL ruled that it will force Orlando's NBC affiliate WESH-2
to carry all of the Jaguars road games as well as all sold-out
home games. According to local TV ratings, the Dolphins are the
most popular team in the Orlando area. WESH GM Jeff Lee: "The
NFL spent 30 years telling us we we're Dolphins fans and now it
wants us to forget them" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/9).
Ratings for the NFL divisional playoff games fell 7% in
overnight results from a 24.4 average to a 22.6. Fox's two games
were down 4% to 22.2, and NBC's games decreased 10% to a 23.2.
The highest rated game of the weekend was Sunday's Dolphins-
Chargers with a 26.8 (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/10)....Comsat
Int'l Ventures -- a unit of Comsat Corp., owner of the NBA's
Nuggets -- announced a buyout of its partners in a Brazilian
communications company, Comsat VIC S.A. The company, which
operates satellite earth stations and provides telecommunications
to Brazil, will now be named Comsat Brasil (Baltimore SUN,
1/10)....Time Warner, U.S. West and two Japanese companies
announced they would invest around $400M to enter the Japanese
cable TV market (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10)....Rusty Wallace and Ernie
Irvan join TNN this fall. Irvan will be a color commentator for
13 Winston Cup Events; Wallace will host a new motorsports series
that premiers in April (NASCAR NEWS, 1/4-11)....ABC is already
pitching its bowl package for next season, packaging the Sugar,
Rose and Citrus Bowls (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA).
Final '94 financial figures for the TV networks are expected
to be mixed, "despite a buoyant advertising market." According
to analysts, ABC and NBC will post "strong gains," while CBS and
Fox will "show some weakness" for the fourth quarter. Sagging
ratings for CBS and the cost of broadcasting NFL games for Fox
are the main reasons for their expected weak showings. Still,
Smith Barney media analyst John Reidy predicts that aggregate
advertising revenue growth for the 4th and into 1995 will hit
upper single digits, and Dillon Read analyst Edward Atorino sees
broadcast revenue up 10% for the 4th quarter for Cap Cities/ABC,
NBC and Fox. Robert Coen, senior VP and Dir of Forecasting at
McCann-Erickson: "The advertising numbers are coming in strong,
and I don't see any sign of it cooling off." According to
industry analysts, the baseball strike had "less of an impact
than expected on fourth-quarter earnings," although "depriving
the networks of millions of dollars in advertising revenue."
Coen: "In a weak advertising environment, the strike would have
been a disaster. But strong advertising seems to have carried
the networks through" (DOW JONES/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/10).
Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. announced that Coca-Cola will
double its '94 ad spending this year on the Turner Networks.
Coca-Cola will spend more than $8M with various projects this
year, and a significant portion will be spent on the "major
sports properties that Turner cablecasts." Coca-Cola has bought
"a large block of commercial time on Turner's coverage of the
NBA" and Turner and Coca-Cola are looking to work together on
some projects for the '96 Summer Games (Chuck Ross, COWLES
BUSINESS MEDIA, 1/7). IBM and McDonalds have also struck deals
with Turner to buy time on the network's NBA coverage. Both
advertisers are newcomers to Turner's NBA package. The network
has booked close to $100M in ad sales for its hoops coverage this
season, and "about" 85% of the NBA inventory has been accounted
for (Langdon Brockington, COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 1/10).
If the NHL work stoppage ends today, ESPN is "ready to roll"
on its hockey programming schedule. Even though it there will be
"smaller overall volume," there would still be one or two weekly
games on ESPN and three each week on ESPN2. A settlement today
could also allow for Fox to promote its NHL package during the
Cowboys-49ers game on Sunday. Fox marketers "supposedly have
prepared some dazzling promos which would be seen in about 25% of
American homes on Sunday. For years, the NHL only dreamed of
that kind of exposure" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10).
MORE FOX TALES: Fox's ad sales for the '94-95 NFL package
totaled $280-300M (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA)....This morning's
VARIETY reports that Fox is looking to "resurrect its long
dormant Fox News Service, with a $20M cash infusion, new
facilities and an increase in daily news feeds to affiliates.
Fox ended its Washington-based news service in '93 (DAILY