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USA Cable Acquires TRIO and NWI Cable Channels.

NEW YORK and TORONTO, May 19 /PRNewswire/ --

USA Cable announced today the acquisition of North American Television, Inc., (NATV), owner of two U.S.-based cable channels, TRIO and Newsworld International (NWI), from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Power Broadcasting Inc. (PBI) for approximately $100 million USD. Effective immediately, Patrick Vien, President of both networks, continues in that role and reports to Stephen Chao, President of USA Cable.

Barry Diller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We have been saying for some time we wanted to broaden our network television program services. Purchasing NATV gives us the soft clay in two distinct areas of fiction and nonfiction programming to begin these efforts in earnest. Now we can stop saying what our future intentions are and instead actually plow into the real work of developing the services."

Currently, TRIO is an entertainment network focused on original dramas, documentaries and films, the majority of TRIO's programming having never been seen on television in the U.S. "There's an opportunity in the current landscape to deliver a program service that is missing from today's offerings: a truly euphorically programmed popular arts channel encompassing music, theatre, dance ... creating, commissioning and adapting every program possibility throughout the broadest possible definition of popular arts," continued Mr. Diller.

TRIO will serve as the foundation for a USA Cable service that focuses on all aspects of the arts, including drama, concert, performance, staged theatrical events dance and every form and kind of music presentation. TRIO will provide an alternative to both niche and general entertainment channels, offering a varied assortment of programs such as Equity showcases, Broadway performances, classic jazz moments and rock concert events with broad appeal. Reaching into every root of mainstream popular culture, TRIO will explore, examine and celebrate the wide array of general entertainment popular art.

Newsworld International, the second cable service to be acquired in the transaction, is currently North America's only 24-hour international news network, produced in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). NWI reports up-to-the-minute world news and perspectives, aimed at an audience eager for straightforward, incisive journalism. NWI offers three distinct programming elements: (1) International Newsfirst, the network's flagship, 30-minute world newscast produced and broadcast at the top of every hour, 24/7, (2) News Television, presenting an exclusive look at top-rated, unedited newscasts from established networks around the world, in both English and the original language, and (3) World News Analysis, a series from the CBC and other top world news organizations.

"NWI is now a solid news service, but we believe it has room to grow by integrating highly-formatted news headlines with true long-form news pieces, providing viewers thoughtful depth to issues of public concern," said Stephen Chao. "There is a real need for information that cuts through the traditional time-consuming formats. Throughout the day, NWI will provide timely news updates and informed perspectives. We're looking to have NWI service the information needs of very busy, very demanding, very savvy information consumers. TRIO services the fiction and NWI services the reality."

NWI will provide its audience with the news it needs to know by delivering updates and insight with focus on both domestic and international issues and by offering a headline news service. NWI updates will be brief, comprehensive and to the point. NWI will also service the long-form demands of its viewers with dependable and intelligent public affairs programming, including documentaries on topics that have meaning in today's world. This will include a variety of formats all focused on delivering high-quality information services to people on the move.

Both TRIO and NWI are currently being broadcast in the United States by DIRECTV and have executed affiliation agreements with AT&T, Time Warner, Media One and NCTC. Currently, TRIO is carried in approximately 6.2 million homes and NWI in approximately 5.5 million homes.

About NATV

NATV is a joint venture between The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Power Broadcasting Inc. (PBI), two organizations with a strong profile in creating superior programming for world markets. PBI is a North American communications company, wholly owned by Power Corporation of Canada, which has a significant interest in CLT-UFA, Europe's largest private broadcaster. The CBC has been Canada's national broadcaster since 1936 and has an enviable position delivering world renown, quality news and entertainment programming.

About USA Cable

USA Cable, a division of USA Networks, Inc., consists of the top-rated USA Network and SCI FI Channel. USA Network is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows and blockbuster theatrical films and is available in 77% of U.S. homes. SCI FI Channel, the future of cable, currently invades 61% of U.S. homes. Newly re-built for viewers with a sci-fi lifestyle, SCI FI features a continuous stream of cinematic hits, new and original series, and special events, as well as classic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror programming and an award-winning Web site, SCIFI.COM.

Contacts for further information, please contact Ron Sato for USA Cable 310/360-2389, or Adrienne Becker for USA Networks, Inc. 212/314-7254.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 19, 2000
Words:845
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