Rob Black's Media Market Roundup For May 3 (CCU, L, SBGI, SIRI, TWX)

by: Rob Black

U.S. movie studios are losing about $6.1 billion annually in global wholesale revenue to piracy, about 75% more than previous estimated losses of $3.5 billion in hard goods. On top of that, losses are coming not only from lost ticket sales, but from DVD sales that have been Hollywood's cash cow in recent years. The result: Piracy, an issue that normally brings Hollywood studios together, is driving them apart.

Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) subscribers should pick up headphones for that office computer: Howard Stern's uncensored satellite radio show will be available to them live via the Internet by mid-June.

Advertisers love AOL's (NYSE:TWX) programming which includes celebrity news coverage and reruns of TV shows such as Wonder Woman, but nine months after putting much of its for-pay programming on the open Internet for free, AOL has found that attracting new users is a slow process.

Time Warner (TWX) Chairman Dick Parsons told analysts that the company is in talks with Liberty Media (NYSE:L) about a possible cash acquisition of the 50% stake Time Warner doesn't already own in cable network Court TV. Parsons added that the company hopes to be able to make some sort of announcement shortly.

Clear Channel Communications (CCU-OLD) said profit rose to $96.8 million from $47.9 million in the year earlier period. Revenue rose to $1.5 billion from $1.45 billion a year earlier. Clear Channel said it continues to be "optimistic" about its outlook for the rest of the year.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (NASDAQ:SBGI) reported earnings of $11.2 million vs. earnings of $11.3 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue declined to $163.5 million from last year's $163.9 million, as an increase in net station broadcast revenue offset declines in revenue realized from station barter arrangements and other operating divisions. The TV broadcaster expects second-quarter net broadcast revenue to be flat to up 2% from year-ago levels.

American Idol turns unknowns into icons overnight -- but "American Idol" isn't just for aspiring singers. American Idol positively changed the fortunes of Fox Television. With its unparalleled exposure -- the weekly audience of American Idol is usually somewhere north of 30 million viewers -- "Idol" is now launching record sales of the established artists who appear as guests. As such, it has become a hot destination for music stars.

Stevie Wonder and Shakira have appeared on recent programs, and veteran rocker Rod Stewart. Barry Manilow's "Greatest Songs of the Fifties" soared from No. 24 to No. 4 on the pop charts -- a sales increase of 140 percent -- following his March appearance. Shakira's new album, "Oral Fixation Vol. 2," jumped 11 spots on the top 40 charts after her hip-shaking "Idol" performance. In fact, stars don't even have to appear on "Idol" to enjoy a sales spike. Sales of two Keith Urban singles increased more than 20 percent after contestants performed the songs on the show.

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