Published on .

June 11, 2001

By David Goetzl

CHICAGO ( -- The coming federal tax cut may help jump start the dragging upfront TV marketplace, Viacom's Mel Karmazin told the National

Photo: AP..
On stage at Monday's convention (left to right): Brian Roberts, president of Comcast; Jerald Kent, president Charter Communications; Mel Karmazin, president-COO of Viacom; and C. Michael Armstrong, president of AT&T.
Cable & Telecommunications Association convention in Chicago.

Individuals will be receiving $300 rebate checks (married couples $600) this summer at a time when media companies such as Viacom are looking for ways to persuade advertisers not to pull back despite the weakened economy.

"Companies are going to be fighting and using our mediums to get that $300 away from the consumer," said Mr. Karmazin, Viacom president and chief operating officer. "I know our sales people are pitching that."

Viacom operates the CBS broadcast network and a host of cable outlets such as MTV and Nickelodeon.

NFL and DirectTV
Mr. Karmazin, who said he remains bullish about the ad market, also said the continued growth of DirecTV could play a role in the next rights fees negotiations with the National Football League.

The executive said Viacom makes a significant portion of the revenues that offset the millions of dollars it pays the NFL from ads sold on the local networks it owns and operates. DirectTV's NFL package runs the commercials that are broadcast on CBS nationally, but pre-empts advertising that runs on the local affliate stations.

So far, DirectTV's subscriber base hasn't had an impact, but Mr. Karmazin said an increased rollout of the service's NFL package could encourage Viacom and other large media companies to bargain harder when the negotiations start again.

"The implication of that being rolled out is significant," he said.

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

Most Popular
In this article: