NBC leads May sweeps ratings

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NBC devoured its prime-time competition with dino-size ratings for the first full week of the May sweeps, averaging a 12.7 Nielsen rating for the week ended May 7, a 12.4% increase over the 11.3 rating NBC averaged for the same week last season. Powered by a 23.3 rating for its May 7 telecast of "Jurassic Park," NBC also had the top three prime-time shows of the week: "ER," "Friends" and "Seinfeld," which each did better than a 20 rating. All of the other broadcast networks were down for the week. Basic cable, however, surged to a 15.8 aggregate rating, a 17% increase over the 13.5 rating for the same week last season. Cable increases were due to O.J. Simpson trial coverage, NBA and Major League Baseball coverage and the presence of more cable networks.

The national TV syndication upfront for the 1995-96 TV season has virtually sold out at about $1.8 billion, an 11% increase over last year's upfront, according to the Advertiser Syndicated Television Association. ASTA projects total 1996 national ad syndicated ad sales will be about $2 billion. To date, ASTA estimates about 85% to 90% of all nationally syndicated ad time has been sold for next season, as compared to sellout levels in past seasons of about 65% to 70%.

Tele/TV name
Tele/TV is the name Creative Artists Agency, Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Pacific Telesis have given their new company and programming service led by Chairman-CEO Howard Stringer. Tele/TV will provide traditional and eventually interactive programming over the phone companies' new broadband and wireless networks currently in development. The Tele/TV logo was created by CAA. First commercial deployment of Tele/TV's traditional programming and near video on-demand will be via a wireless cable system that would require a set-top box and professional installation. Mr. Stringer said he and President Sandy Grushow will enter the marketplace in the next three weeks to begin licensing existing networks and programs, as well as new programming. Mr. Stringer said he hopes to have a line-up within four months. He also said Tele/TV is eyeing six specific executives in the TV and entertainment industries to fill key posts, including marketing and advertising officers. The Baby Bells will promote and market the Tele/TV brand in their respective markets, but Philip Quigley, chairman-CEO of Pacific Telesis, said Tele/TV will hire an ad agency.

America Online formally announced that a preview of its World Wide Web browser is available to subscribers. Web access is being integrated into AOL's topic areas, so that users who click on the "Sports" icon, for example, will be able to access sports information from AOL and the Web. AOL is also using compression technology that it claims displays graphic images up to three times faster than other browsers. The commercial version of the browser is expected to be available by next month.

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