Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, Sept. 6 »
Apple‘s shocking $200 price-cut on the iPhone had Wall Street, iPhone owners (and no doubt AT&T) reeling, sending its shares down 5.!% yesterday. Phasing out its entry-level iPhone, Apple discounted its upper-end model two months post-launch. It also unveiled the Wi-Fi-ready iPod Touch, a Wi-Fi iTunes store, a music deal with Starbucks that includes free Wi-Fi access, and an enhanced video iPod (now called the iPod Classic). CEO Steve Jobs defends the repricing in today’s Wall Street Journal, while Fake Steve Jobs cackles at the masses (including celebrities and Philly’s mayor) who camped out to pay $599 in July. Bloomberg and Reuters have more.
Update: After a customer outcry, Steve Jobs posted an apology on Apple.com offering a $100 credit (not refund) to iPhone owners who paid full price. "This is life in the technology lane," he writes in his iSorry, adding: "We apologize for disappointing some of you." (Will Ad Age still call Apple the best place to work in PR after this marketing disaster?)
The NCTA today launched its $200 million DTV transition campaign to educate consumers, including TV spots (in English and Spanish) for cable systems to run, and online resources including its GetReadyForDigitalTV.com website. The CEA approves.
Vudu, the wannabe VOD-slayer, goes live today following a much-ballyhooed sneak peek in April in the New York Times. The movie download service is charging $399 for its box, which will offer 5,000 titles from 25 studios and distributors to rent (from 99 cents to $3.99) or purchase )from $4.99 to $19.99). It also supports HD, notes TechNewsWorld.
In other "_u_u" digi-news, Hulu, the joint venture digital video partnership between News Corp. and NBC Universal, was sued by Lulu for alleged trademark infringement, trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and federal cyberpiracy. [CNET]
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin appears "set to crack down on cable companies that sign exclusive deals with apartment and condominium buildings," an agenda item on the FCC’s packed open commission meeting Tuesday, notes USA Today. The NCTA says the FCC lacks authority to repeal exclusivity clauses in existing contracts, while any ban on future exclusive deals should extend to telcos. Martin’s proposal only applies to dominant cable companies including Comcast.
The Dept. of Justice urged the FCC to proceed cautiously in its network neutrality inquiry. In a filing to the FCC, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division argued against net neutrality regulations, saying they would limit consumer choice and deter investment. The DOJ’s stance has "major implications for content companies," notes PaidContent.
As the NFL’s regular season kicks off tonight, NFL Network spokesman Seth Palansky tells the San Francisco Chronicle the league is "confident that our position will prevail" in its appeal over being punted to a sports tier by Comcast; a ruling is expected this fall.
Contrary to some reports, ESPN is not bailing out of the scripted TV business. Seth Arenstein has the scoop.
A Washington Post editorial this morning knocks Motorola and Scientic-Atlanta for helping Charter Communications "cook its books" in "what is likely to be the most important and contentious securities case before the Supreme Court in years." The decision will determine investors’ right to sue secondary parties for fraud.
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts slips five spots to #57 in Vanity Fair‘s 2007 New Establishment power ranking. New to the list this year: Comedy Central cut-ups Stephen Colbert, at #87, and Jon Stewart at #89; and in-between, the target of many of their jokes, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly, at #88.
NAMIC will present a panel, "Leadership at The Speed of Communications," at the 50th Mid-America Cable Show, Sept. 12.
RGB Networks and C-COR are demonstrating at IBC how they can pack 50% more VOD content into the same bandwidth.
Advanced set-top maker Digeo (whose owner, Charter Communications‘ chairman Paul Allen, slipped to #71 on Vanity Fair‘s list above) inked a deal with Monster to develop plug-and-play connected entertainment and home control devices.
AP reporter John Wilen signed up for Verizon‘s FiOS TV and broadband at home and loves it — almost: "If the installers hadn’t almost burned my house down, I’d say … the service is nearly flawless."
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