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'Big Three' see record (low) revenue performance

More evidence that broadcasters got hammered last year: The gross revenues of the "Big Three" networks fell more than 10 percent versus 2000.

The figures were compiled by Ernst & Young and disclosed by the Broadcast
Cable Financial Management Association (BCFM).

BCFM said last year's revenue performance by the Big Three was the worst
on record.

Total gross revenues were $12 billion, down 10.3 percent from 2000.

The worst-hit sector was sports, down 35 percent to $2.3 billion.

Early morning fared best, up 3 percent to $711 million.

Prime time was up 2 percent to $6.3 billion.

BCFM president Buz Buzogany cited the recession and Sept. 11 as the
primary factors in the poor results.

"You have to go back to 1991 and the heart of our last recession to find
anything like this comparison," Buzogany said.

But even then, he noted, the revenue decline was 4.8 percent, just under one-half the
shortfall of 2001.

Fourth-quarter results trended the same as those for the full year.

Total gross sales were down 9 percent to $3.1 billion.

Sports was down 18 percent to $621 million and early morning was flat at $179

Prime time was down 1 percent to $1.7 billion.