Biz Briefs

Aug 11, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Rainbow Media Holdings has eliminated several production positions at its Mag Rack video-on-demand service, including Senior VP of Programming Michael Connor, as the Cablevision Systems unit opts to use third-party production companies for the development and production of original content.
The terminations, which reportedly total 12 employees, represent 2-year-old Mag Rack’s evolution from using in-house producers who were largely generalists to those who have expertise in subject areas that are covered by Mag Rack’s collection of video magazines, including wine, photography, science and cooking. A Rainbow spokesman declined to specify the number of terminations.
“Rainbow has made a strategic business decision to use third-party entities for the development and production of original content for Mag Rack’s on-demand service, which has resulted in small reduction in staff,” the spokesman said, adding the decision represented a “more appropriate way for us to operate our business moving forward.”
Granite Aims to Change Station Mix
Granite Broadcasting Chairman and CEO W. Don Cornwell said last Wednesday that Granite will focus on changing its mix of television stations to take advantage of the relaxed TV station ownership rules and create duopolies in certain markets. He said he wants to sell or swap Granite’s WB stations in San Francisco and Detroit for TV stations that are news-oriented and generate positive cash flow.
The comments came as Granite, which owns eight TV stations, reported that it swung to a second-quarter loss of $13.3 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $110.5 million, largely due to the sale last year of its profitable KNTV station in San Jose, Calif., to NBC. The sale of that station also contributed to Granite’s nearly 13 percent decline in revenue to $28.5 million. Excluding the KNTV sale, Granite, which owns eight TV stations, said its revenue would have risen 5 percent, largely due to strong revenues posted at the company’s WB affiliates. Broadcast cash flow advanced 2 percent to $5.4 million.
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Charter
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s last week downgraded Paul Allen’s Charter Communications to CC from CCC, following through on a threat made last month when the rating agency expressed concern that Charter’s proposed debt offering wouldn’t trim as much debt as the company initially hoped.