Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 8/31/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Wed, 2 Sep 1998 12:17:13 -0700

>Issue: Television Economics
>Audiences continue to defect to cable and programming costs continue to rise
>-- the future of network television seems uncertain. But despite constant
>rumors, there have been no bidders for CBS or GE's NBC. "There are new
>advantages ever since the Federal Communications Commission allowed network
>companies to own their programming and share in the sale of rerun rights,"
>said David Londoner, an analyst at Schroder & Co. "In this market, everybody
>talks to everybody else. And sure, anyone would love to buy them at the
>right price. But you could drive a truck between the bid and the ask."
>Howard Anderson, president of the Yankee Group, a consulting firm in Boston,
>added: "Owning networks ain't what it used to be. When the prime-time
>players had 85 percent of the prime-time audience, you were buying into a
>monopoly. Now they are at 50 percent market share. There is sticker shock
>over advertising prices. And the Internet is eating away at the youth
>market." What's more, Anderson said, "companies have proven that they can
>launch their own networks for far less money." While television stations and
>cable service make a lot of money, broadcast networks typically yield only
>about 10% at best. At worst, they lose money (see CBS story).
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C6), AUTHOR: Geraldine Fabrikant]
>Issue: Television/ Ownership
>Longtime Sacramento Broadcasters, the Kelly family, has just sold last of
>it's broadcast operations for $900 million. Kelly Broadcasting was founded
>in 1945 by advertising executive Gene Kelly, and is now run by his
>grandsons. While Kelly's Sacramento TV station KCRA-TV has been a local
>leader for years, it had become increasingly difficult for small
>broadcasters to compete for programming. "I lost five out of six shows and
>didn't even get to the table," said KCRA station manager Greg Kelly. "We had
>to get big or get out, and we were not in a position to get big,"
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable (p.10, 11), AUTHOR: John Higgins]

>Issue: Television
>With the big networks fighting over adult viewers, new outlets like Pax TV
>are trying to find a niche for family viewing. At 11:00am today, Pax TV
>(formerly Pax Net) will start broadcasting. "Along with the new Fox Family
>Channel and new programming initiatives on Nickelodeon and the Disney
>Channel, it is one of a number of TV outlets looking to fill the void in
>family viewing as the traditional networks have turned toward the young
>adult market," Johnson reports. Bud Paxson's network -- which will reach
>50-75 million households, will be the nation's 7th broadcast network:
>"Parental Discretion Unnecessary" is one of the network's ad slogans.
>[SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (Sec 5, p.1), AUTHOR: Steve Johnson]
>Issue: Cable
>Ameritech's cable system, americast, has launched a free text information
>service in the Columbus, Ohio market. Local Connections, as its called, will
>offer local information ranging from movie times to weather forecasts on 49
>channels. Ameritech is hoping the local information channels will give them
>an edge over cable competitors Time Warner and Insight Communications.
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable (p.43), AUTHOR: Price Colman]

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld