Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, August 22 »
MySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites are feeling the heat from attorneys general in all 50 states. They want the Internet services to provide greater parental controls and age-verification tools. Legislators in several states are also trying to pass bills that would result in similar actions. MySpace recently acknowledged that it detected some 29,000 registered sex offenders on its site. [Wall Street Journal]
YouTube is introducing ads within videos on its site. The move comes 10 months after Google bought the video-sharing Internet service, and it is expected to start to bring standardization to the growing Web video ad market. [New York Times | Wall Street Journal]
The History Channel and The Weather Channel both announced major ratings successes for programming last weekend. The season finale of Ice Road Truckers on History became the network’s highest rated program ever, and was the No. 1 cable show that night, Aug. 19, with 4.8 million total viewers and a 3.5 rating. Meanwhile, The Weather Channel scored its highest ratings in 2007 for its coverage of Hurricane Dean on Sunday, with a 0.6 total day rating.
Comcast Corp., never one for a lack of news, seems to be generating a particularly large number of local stories these days:
- An attorney representing a local worker in Salem, N.J., claims that if his client wins his civil lawsuit against Comcast, it could change the way the MSO conducts its business across the entire state. The worker suffered severe injuries while working on cable lines. [nj.com]
- A regional vice president at Comcast expressed frustration that the company was unable to reduce the number of outside contractors installing services like VoIP in the Atlanta area. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- The city council of Tuscaloosa, Ala., voted unanimously to oppose the MSO’s request for relief from regulation. Comcast claims that a ceiling on how much it charges for basic service makes it hard to compete with satellite services. [Tuscaloosa News]
- Police in the northwest suburbs of Chicago are looking for two suspects who shot a Comcast worker when he was in his van. The technician’s injuries are not life threatening. [ABC7Chicago]
NBC Universal inked a deal with the Associated Press that allows AP to include 2008 Summer Olympics content, including video, in a premium online channel. NBC Universal owns the broadcast and video rights to the Games, which take place next August in Beijing. [Forbes] [Wall Street Journal]
ESPNU doubled its subscriber count, to 20 million, with carriage on a digital tier across all Time Warner Cable divisions. The move is one result of a massive deal inked between the network’s corporate parent, Walt Disney Co., and the MSO earlier this year. [Variety]
IN OTHER NEWS:
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association paid a lobbying firm, Joseph Group LLC, $120,000 for the first half of this year, according to a disclosure form. [Yahoo Finance]
U.S. broadband penetration hit the 83.4% level among active Internet users, making the U.S. the 24th ranked broadband market worldwide. [Website Optimization]
Bravo’s Project Runway series signed its first five licensing agreements for consumer products. The licenses went to fashion jewelry firm Aaron Co., sewing machine supplier Brother International, sewing tools and accessories provider Prym Consumer, Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Simplicity Pattern Co.
Decatur City, Ala., has ended a three-year battle with Charter Communications. Both sides have made concessions. The city council approved a measure repealing the city’s telecommunications code governing cable and telephone providers. [Decatur Daily]
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has granted Yahoo! the right to feature the show’s videos on Yahoo.com and on Yahoo! TV. This is the first legal showcase for the Comedy Central series on the Web, other than its own site.
TV Guide Network signed Joey Fatone to cohost its Red Carpet awards ceremony specials. Fatone is host of The Singing Bee, and like his new Red Carpet cohost Lisa Rinna, he’s a former contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
FX has greenlit a pilot from the creator of Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy. The new series, 4 Oz., is the first project hatched since Murphy signed a $15 million deal with News Corp.’s FX, 20th Century Fox and Fox Network divisions. [Variety]
An appellate court will hear oral arguments in October concerning a long-running patent infringement dispute between EchoStar Communications and TiVo. [Denver Business Journal]
Nick at Nite is adding the time-honored series Home Improvement and George Lopez to its schedule next month.