News Briefing for Memorial Day, 2008

Support Our Troops. Good day.

The Ski Channel continues to add product. Even on Memorial Day. Chairman/CEO Steve Bellamy said The Ski Channel has locked up long-term broadcast rights acquisition for The Freeskiing World Tour, The World Freeskiing Championships, The Subaru US Freeskiing Series and snowboarding tourney The North Face Masters Series.   
The US tours include stops in Jackson Hole, Crested Butte, Telluride, Squaw Valley, Snowbird and Alyeska.  The world tour has stops in South America and Europe. Both tours are owned and run by Mountain Sports International. The deal also includes marketing of the tours on The Ski Channel, its Web site and mobile. The tours complement Ski’s other properties, including the Teva Mountain Games and the World Heli Championships.

Good thing few people read the paper on Saturdays. For cable’s sake, hopefully fewer than that read it on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. The NY Times (and nearly two dozen outlets) belted cable hard Saturday, noting a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says cable prices rose 77% since 1996, which is about twice the rate of inflation. Oy. [NYT]

On the upside for cable, The Times on Memorial Day paid cable a compliment with a piece about the just-finished ratings season and cable’s gains. Several cable nets were given kudos for their best quarters, including VH1, USA, TBS and E!. At least 10 others are posting significant gains, The Times said, including History (up 15%), Fox News (12%) and AMC (9%). Meanwhile, the broadcasters had their worst year ever. [NYT]

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