News Briefing for Thursday, May 8, 2008 Media companies continue to post impressive quarterly earnings numbers. The latest is News Corp., which reported increased profits for its fiscal third quarter. Operating profit at News Corp.’s TV division was up 53% compared to the same period the year before, driven by ad-revenue gains at Fox, the Wall Street Journal reports, while operating income was up 17% at the company’s cable networks. [Wall Street Journal]
DirecTV plans to borrow $2.5 billion, which it will use to buy back stock, the Wall Street Journal reports. Liberty Media will cap its voting stake in the company at 48% as part of the stock buyback plan. [Wall Street Journal]
Sensing the end, or at least the dwindling importance, of local broadcast TV stations, NBC Universal announced that it will be launching a 24-hour local news channel in New York. The channel, to be called New York’s Newschannel, will be available to the area’s digital cable subscribers. The identity of WNBC-Channel 4, the company’s flagship local station in New York, will be “de-emphasized,” although it will continue to provide local news programming, according to the New York Times. If successful, this model will be applied to other NBCU markets. [New York Times]
Mediacom may join the Sprint/Clearwire WiMax venture announced yesterday that includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, Cable Digital News reports. [Cable Digital News]
MTV at its upfront today will tell advertisers about shows and about ads that look like them, The NY Times reports. [NYT]
The FCC has selected Wilmington, N.C., to be the initial test market in the conversion to all-digital TV broadcasts. [Wall Street Journal]
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue says Comcast’s refusal to carry the NFL Network on its digital lineup is, in part, a retaliatory gesture on the part of Comcast chief Brian Roberts. [New York Times] Check out the latest episode of The CableFAX Show, in which Mike Grebb and Seth Arenstein ponder the strategies of that free-thinking cable operator, Cablevision.
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