OLYMPIC MEGADEAL II: THE SPIN DOCTORS ARE IN
Reaction to the deal was mixed, as most praised the IOC
while holding out judgement on the purchase by NBC. Some
"skeptics question whether NBC could make money on such a high
rights fees, given the uncertainties of where video technology
and the advertising marketplace will be more than a decade from
now" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/13). NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay calls
it "a gamble," citing the uncertain economic future. One TV
exec: "I'd hate to be the forecasters trying to estimate the
marketplace: What will the ratings be with more and more
channels? What's the impact of computers and interactive media?"
Zipay writes without a U.S. site, ratings "are a risk" (NEWSDAY,
12/13). Analyst Dennis McAlpine, of Josephthal Lyon & Ross, said
there is "cache" to NBC being called the "Olympic network,"
adding,. "There is also obviously a very strong benefit to
attracting NBC's advertisers, because it's a venue that they can
show them" ("Moneyline," CNN, 12/12). In Baltimore, Milton Kent
calls it a "significant commitment of cash and time" at a time
when there are rumors a possible stake in the network is for
sale. Kent notes the announcement makes NBC and its stations
"more attractive to potential buyers" (Baltimore SUN, 12/13).
Richard Sandomir writes NBC's "wager is that the power of Olympic
programming outweighs the risk of its future payments" (N.Y.
HAPPY AFFILS: Others say the deal should help NBC "lock in
the remaining 10% or so of its 215 affiliates that haven't yet
signed long-term deals." NBC is likely to buy more TV stations
pending approval of telecommunications legislation (Elizabeth
Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/13).