HROUGH THE TURNER-TIME WARNER DEAL
Noting that Time Warner has agreed to pay TCI $360M in stock and
cash to acquire Southern Satellite Inc., the TCI-owned company
that distributes Turner's WTBS Superstation to cable operators,
the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Eben Shapiro concludes that the Turner-
Time Warner deal is "even sweeter" for TCI than first thought.
Acquiring Southern Satellite is a first step toward Time Warner's
goal of converting WTBS from a superstation to basic cable.
Presently, WTBS's revenue comes in the form of ad sales and a
distribution fee collected by Southern Satellite. The switch to
basic cable could generate $100M annually for Time Warner and
create an asset valued at more than $1B. Company officials said
it was "premature" to discuss the type of programs the new WTBS
would carry. The station would have to negotiate a new contract
with MLB in order to continue carrying the Braves (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 9/27). The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION notes that Turner and
Time Warner officials are "kicking around" the idea of airing the
WB Network on WTBS (Charles Haddad, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/27).
But ELECTRONIC MEDIA goes a step further, reporting WTBS will
become WB's first owned-&-operated station (Diane Mermigas,
ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 9/27).