Wright: Some HDTV, Some Multicasting

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Washington -- NBC president Robert Wright said last week
that his network has plans in place for digital broadcasting, and that the
fractionalization of viewership won't necessarily hurt a brand like NBC.

NBC plans to use both multicasting and full-bandwidth
high-definition TV broadcasts on its new spectrum, Wright said in a speech to the
Washington Metropolitan Cable Club here last week.

The network will use "more than one channel in some
dayparts, but in other dayparts, especially in primetime, we'll use higher
resolution," Wright said. "Whatever we start with, it won't be where we end
up." "I think that in primetime, most all of [the networks] are going to go the
way that Wright is saying," said Henry Geller, a professor at Duke University and
communications fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Markle Foundation. "At the 11
o'clock news, they may put out a half-hour of business, a half-hour of weather, a
half-hour of local news and a half-hour of sports." NBC has the rights to the Olympic
Games through 2010, and Wright said it will try to reach more viewers and broadcast more
sports by using two of its cable networks, probably CNBC and MSNBC.

Wright denied that the increasing fractualizing of
audiences will doom the broadcast networks.

"Those of us in the network business will probably
have smaller audiences, but they'll be smaller audiences having national reach, and
they'll be quite substantial in number, even though they will be perhaps smaller than
they were years ago," Wright said.

"With an increasingly fractured market and an
increasingly fractured culture, universal reach will become more valuable," Wright
added. "We have to make sure that we understand that and explain it to
advertisers.""The realistic aspect is that we have to serve those niche viewers
that come to see us," Wright said.States News Service

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