KICU'S DT revenue ride is short-lived

KICU-DT San Jose, Calif., raised few eyebrows at the Federal Communications Commission
last week by reporting that it took in $90,000 over 12 months for its
digital data-transmission service.

That kind of money is a staggering amount for a digital-TV ancillary service that few
predict will get beyond the drawing board any time soon.

The skeptics are right. In a letdown to the FCC's effort to promote any business
plan for digital TV, KICU's digital cash dried up after a three-year deal with Intel Corp. to
test Internet, software downloads and other services via broadcasters' digital
spectrum expired.

"Unfortunately, our datacasting revenue next year will be zero, like everyone
else," said Jeff Block, vice president of KTVU Partnership, the Cox Broadcasting Inc. subsidiary
that owns KICU.

Digital stations last week last were required to report to the FCC on their
digital-TV ancillary services.

Only a handful are earning any revenue from add-on services to conventional
digital-television programming. Others include WKRC-DT Cincinnati, $8,280 for
high-speed Internet; KSL-DT Salt Lake City, $8,000 for interactive TV; and
KQED-DT San Francisco, $2,000 for data transmissions.

More reports are expected to trickle in this week.