CBS PROFITS SINK 68%, PARTLY DUE TO LOSS OF SPORTS
CBS Chair Laurence Tisch "stunned Wall Street" by revealing
that 1st quarter profits sank 68% -- "far lower than the market
expected." The figures "further tarnish" the network's image on
Wall Street, coming as CBS ratings have fallen and at the end of
'94, in which CBS lost the NFL to Fox. In the 1st quarter, CBS
earnings fell $21.9M from $69.3M for the same period last year.
Tisch blamed the weak showing on poor ratings and "diminished
sports revenues." CBS aired the '94 Winter Games during the same
period last year. He also "attributed the poor showing to the
'combination of weakness in programming ratings and weaker
affiliate relationships.'" CBS lost key affiliates last summer
to Fox (Jonathan Auerbach, N.Y. POST, 4/11). Last year's 1st
quarter was boosted not only by the Olympics but by post-season
ad dollars from the NFL. Smith Barney media analyst John Reidy
said it was misleading to compare this year's results to '94
(Leslie Eaton, N.Y. TIMES, 4/11).
AND A BUYER? According to this morning's DAILY VARIETY,
"speculation intensified" that Seagram Co. may pursue a broadcast
network once its purchase of MCA is finalized. During a
conference call with Wall Street analysts, Seagram CEO Edgar
Bronfman Jr. said it was too early for MCA to think about going
after a network. But, according to analysts who participated on
the call, Bronfman noted that both he and his father were U.S.
citizens and that MCA is an American company, which would allow
them to own a U.S. broadcast network. While Seagram is a
Canadian-held company, MCA is being bought through a U.S.
corporation (DAILY VARIETY, 4/11).