Briefly Noted

Nov 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

WWF women pin down a special
The divas of the World Wrestling Federation are getting their own special on UPN. The hour-long outing is scheduled to air Friday, March 15, on the eve of Wrestlemania 18, which will be staged in Toronto. In other news from the WWF’s entertainment front, WWF Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon said last week that the multimedia empire hopes to have a script scout in place in Hollywood by next summer to look for new TV and feature-length projects the WWF could develop under its contract with Viacom.
Cablevision upping monthly fees
The monthly price of cable for Cablevision Systems’ 3 million subscribers in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas is going up an average of 5.5 percent in the new year. “That’s less than a dime a day,” a Cablevision spokesman said about the increase.
The price increases reflect “increased programming and operating costs, inflation, continued investment in customer service and network upgrades to provide digital services and enhance system reliability,” according to a company statement.
The increases come about one week after the multiple system operator posted a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss, which was generally attributed to a multimillion-dollar charge that resulted from buying out New York Knicks player contracts, most prominently that of Larry Johnson, the injured forward who recently opted for early retirement. As a result, Cablevision cut its full-year cash-flow estimates for its MSG unit, which includes the Knicks basketball team, the Rangers hockey team, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.
TiVo reports Q3 loss, subscription growth
TiVo reported a third-quarter loss of $34.5 million, but cited strong growth in both revenue and subscribers for its personal video recording service, despite a general downturn in consumer spending after Sept. 11. TiVo revenues increased to $5.3 million, up 29 percent from $4.1 million in the second quarter. The company reported a net loss for the quarter of $34.5 million, or 81 cents a share, vs. a loss of $72.7 million, or $1.89 per share, a year ago. Analysts had expected TiVo to report an 83-cent loss. In its quarterly report, TiVo said the total number of subscribers rose to 280,000 from 84,000 a year ago. In the third quarter alone, the company signed up 51,000 subscribers, compared with 31,000 in the corresponding period a year earlier.
FCC eyes `Victoria’s Secret’ complaints
Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps asked the FCC staff last week to investigate the hundreds of complaints the agency has received about ABC’s prime-time broadcast of “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” on Nov. 15. He said virtually all the complaints alleged that some of the material was indecent. “Citizens filing complaints with their government are entitled to have their complaints taken seriously,” Mr. Copps said. One agency source said the complaints appeared to be part of an organized effort because “They were basically all the same.” But another agency source insisted that the complaints were different. A spokesman for FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the complaints are “under our normal review procedures.”
WNET-TV turning on Empire State Building
Public television powerhouse WNET-TV was scheduled to flip the switch on a new transmitter atop the Empire State Building on Thanksgiving Day. It was another signal that broadcasting life is headed back toward normal in New York, where all but two stations lost their main transmitters in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. WNET’s commercial brethren already had hoisted transmitters to the top of the Empire State Building. In honor of the restoration of an over-the-air signal that can be received by most viewers in the New York market for the first time since Sept. 11, WNET scheduled encores of all 141/2 hours of Ric Burns’ “New York: A Documentary Film” throughout the weekend.
Short takes
NBC last week confirmed that its pending acquisition of Telemundo Communications Group has received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission. The deal is still under review at the Federal Communications Commission. … CNET Networks entered into a partnership that will allow the company to offer video content to viewers of Hearst-Argyle’s 28 U.S. TV stations and to the broadband users of Internet Broadcasting System’s network of more than 40 local television news Web sites. CNET will provide regular feeds of its breaking news coverage, hosted by CNET Networks’ reporters, as well as streaming broadband coverage. … The Television Bureau of Advertising is moving its annual marketing conference from Las Vegas to New York City, where it will be held in conjunction with the New York Auto Show. The conference will take place March 26 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.