Bravo Cheers are Muted

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Bravo Networks last week "clarified" its
end-of-year subscriber numbers for Bravo and The Independent Film Channel, which turned
out to be much lower than the programmer originally reported.

In a Nov. 22 press release, Bravo Networks said
distribution for its programming services was up 20 million subscribers this year: 12
million for Bravo and 8 million for IFC.

The release stated, "Bravo hits 50 million … IFC
reaches 30 million." The statement further said Bravo "will pass the critical 50
million threshold, ending the year at 50 [million], up 12 million from year-end
1998."

But last week, Nielsen Media Research issued its subscriber
counts for cable networks for December. Nielsen listed Bravo as having 42.1 million
subscribers -- nearly 8 million fewer than what Bravo was claiming. Nielsen didn't provide
subscriber numbers for IFC.

Asked about the discrepancy last week, Bravo Networks
conceded that the 50 million and 30 million distribution figures it had provided were
essentially just homes passed, not actual subscribers.

In its clarification statement, Bravo Networks said,
"Bravo, The Film and Arts Network, will close the year available to 50 million homes
with 42.1 million viewing subscribers. The Independent Film Channel will end 1999
available to 30 million homes with 14 million viewing subscribers. This represents record
growth for Bravo Networks."

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