BROADCAST NEWS: IS CBS STILL ON THE BLOCK?
Speculation about a takeover at CBS Inc., which had
"approached the boiling point in recent months cooled yesterday
after the network reported dismal first-quarter earnings." Smith
Barney media analyst John Reidy: "The rumor mill has calmed down
for now. It's clear that CBS has a lot of work to do, and that
will make people think longer before buying." CBS stock was down
2 1/2 to 63 1/8 yesterday on the NYSE. Yesterday, CBS announced
an earnings drop of 68% (DOW JONES/N.Y. POST, 4/12).
THE NEW NETWORKS: The two newest broadcast networks, WB and
UPN, are still "struggling to find an audience," according to
Josef Adalian of the N.Y. POST. With the exception of "Star
Trek: Voyager," shows for both networks are at the bottom of the
ratings. UPN's two nights of programming average a 4.6, while
WB's one night averages a 1.9 (N.Y. POST, 4/12).
THE MURDOCH TAX BREAK: NBC's Brian Williams reported on
President Clinton's signing into law of a tax bill that gives a
tax break for the sale of a media interest to minority-owned
firms. Williams: "The broadcast portion of the bill amounts to a
special tax break for Fox-TV network owner Rupert Murdoch. He is
selling an Atlanta TV station to a minority owned firm and thanks
to the bill he will now save $63 million in taxes" ("Nightly
News," NBC, 4/11). Murdoch spoke yesterday at the annual
convention of the Nat'l Association of Broadcasters. He used
part of his speech to praise the efforts of rival media mogul Ted
Turner. In Atlanta, Charles Haddad notes that both Turner and
Murdoch are fighting in out for new territory, specifically in
Asia (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/12).