Biz Briefs

Mar 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Satellite operator Pegasus Communications last week reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss to $37.7 million, or $6.63 a share, from red ink of $60.6 million, or $10.25 a share, a year ago. Revenue slipped 3 percent to $220.9 million. For the year, the Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based rural-market satellite operator reported a narrowed loss of $170.9 million, or $29.91 a share, vs. a year-ago loss of $185.1 million, or $30.96 a share. Revenue declined 4 percent to $862.9 million.
Gray Experiences Profit Decline
Television station group Gray Television last week reported a 68 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit to $1.3 million, or 1 cent a share, from a profit of $4 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 6 percent to $80.4 million, largely the result of the 15 television stations it acquired in late 2002. For the year, the Atlanta-based owner of 29 TV stations swung to a profit of $14 million, or 21 cents a share, from a year-earlier loss of $24 million, or $1.37 a share. Revenue for 2003 surged 49 percent to $295.4 million.
Chernin Happy to Stay Put
News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin last week put an end to speculation that he might bolt for the top job at The Walt Disney Co., saying he is happy with his current employer and hopes to be around to see it grow. “I wouldn’t be in this negotiation [of a new employment contract with News Corp.] if I weren’t happy with the company,” Mr. Chernin said at an investor conference in Palm Beach, Fla., sponsored by investment bank Bear Stearns.
“I am happy. I love this job. And more importantly, this company has truly unparalleled opportunities for growth and I would like to be around to enjoy it.”
Now that News Corp. has No. 1 satellite operator DirecTV under its control, the company will be looking to leverage its might as a player in distribution and content, Mr. Chernin said. “We are writing a new chapter in what a media company should be.”
DirecTV, Universal Music Sued
Uncensored Music Network, a Los Angeles start-up company that planned to launch an uncut music video channel in July, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against DirecTV and Universal Music Group, alleging they stole its idea for an uncensored music channel. The company is seeking reimbursement for $49.8 million in lost financing and $10 million per month in lost profits as well as a court order blocking Universal Music and DirecTV from launching the channel. A judge has set a hearing date of April 13.