360AM — Morning news briefing for Monday, Mar. 12

Google has been quietly testing serving TV ads using its AdSense system to Astound Broadband in Concord, CA, positioning Google as an emerging middleman for purchasing and delivering TV commercials. [WSJ | Forbes] Cable advertising is under threat on another front: Cable networks (via the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau) are talking to the AAAA‘s eBay Media Marketplace Committee about a proposed online ad-bidding system. Undisclosed cable networks begin beta-testing the system this week. [MediaWeek]

The Dept. of Commerce‘s NTIA announced its $990 million digital-to-analog converter box coupon program will permit U.S. households to receive up to two $40 coupons starting Jan. 1. [Release | CEA/NAB/MSTV | LG Electronics]

The Cable Television Public Affairs Association changes its name this week to the Association for Cable Communicators. Its current moniker will stay in effect through the close of The CTPAA Forum, its annual conference being held this week in Washington, D.C. Watch video of the winners in CTPAA-CableWorld public affairs programming awards being presented at the conference.

In Demand pres/CEO Rob Jacobson met Friday with MLB officials to hear Baseball pitch its DirecTV deal to the other incumbents in the Extra Innings package—cable operators Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and Advance/Newhouse, plus EchoStar‘s Dish Network—before regular season begins Apr. 1. [LA Times]

Cable operators belonging to the wireless joint venture (Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and Advance/Newhouse) with Sprint are ramping up their quad play strategies with cell phone service bundles. Unique features include displaying the cable TV programming guide, two-step mobile email access and later this year, remote DVR programming and VOD content, such as Comcast’s Dating on Demand clips. [Associated Press]

Cablevision added Sony Entertainment Television Asia (SET Asia) as a premium channel [Release] and boosts its high-definition lineup with Discovery HD Theater and NGC HD from National Geographic Channel [TV Predictions].

Cox Communications tapped TVN to produce a weekly barker channel for its video on demand platform. [Release] Cox last week launched On Demand service in Tulsa, OK, Baton Rouge, LA and Wichita, KS. [Release] Separately, Cox and the city of Tucson, AZ, reached a stalemate Friday in their franchise renewal talks. [Tucscon Citizen | Arizona Daily Star]

Insight Communications expanded its Insight Phone 2.0 roll-out. [Springfield (IL) State Journal Register]


DirecTV DVRs will stream video from Intel Viiv PCs later this year. [San Jose Mercury News]

Qwest is stepping up against cable and telcos. [Denver Post | Rapid City (SD) Journal]


The Boston Globe looks at broadband service providers (including Comcast) cutting off heavy users.

BusinessWeek contrasts last week’s Bob Iger hug-in of a Disney shareholders’ meeting. Iger predecessor Mike Eisner today launches Vuguru, a new media studio that packages online content with sponsors. The first project, Prom Queen, launches Apr. 2 with 80 webisodes that will be available on PromQueen.tv, ELLEGirl.com, YouTube and on Veoh.com, which is hosting the video. Sponsors include Fiji Water, Teleflora and POM. [Release]

AP looks at user-generated TV.

2007 State of the Media report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism has bad news for the news biz, including cable news networks.

The average time between a movie’s theatrical and DVD release dates shrank an additional 10 days last year, according to a study on movie windows being released at ShoWest this week in Las Vegas. [LA Times]

Engadget raps Time Warner Cable SVP of programming Melinda Witmer for not having an HDTV set.

Does HRTV‘s deal with Churchill Downs send TVG to the glue factory? [North County Times]

Apple TV could hit this week. [CNET]

The Onion News Network: coming to broadband next month. [Lost Remote]

Paradigm hired Lydia Loizodes as VP, new media. [Release]


A&E premieres season 2 of Gene Simmons Family Jewels on Mar. 25.

ABC Family airs the season finale of Lincoln Heights on Apr. 2 and premieres season 2 of Falcon Beach on Apr. 9.

Al Jazeera‘s English news network struck a deal with Toledo, Ohio-based Buckeye for a Mar. 19 launch. [Toledo Blade]

The America Channel signed the Gateway Football Conference, its 14th NCAA Division I conference deal. [Release]

Anime Network launched as a 24/7 linear network on Grande Communications’ Texas systems. [Release]

Bravo TV is casting for Project Runway 4.

CMT presents Kris Kristofferson with its Johnny Cash Visionary Award, Apr. 16 in Nashville. [AP]

CNN en Espanol turns 10 on Mar. 17. Now reaching 3.6 million U.S. viewers (and 21 million total), its on-air celebrations kick off with a special, 10 Years of CNN en Espanol-Latin America, on Mar. 15.

Current TV launched in the UK on Sky and Virgin Media. Besides user-generated video, on-air content includes video from the British Library, Lonely Planet and Google. [BBC | BBC sidebar]

Discovery Communications tapped RSG Media Systems for rights-tracking. [Release]

A Disney Channel concert series featuring Hannah Montana, The Cheetah Girls and the cast of High School Musical, launchs tomorrow on Disney XD: Xtreme Digital, a streaming broadband entertainment and social networking channel on Disney.com. The four-week D*Concert series will be available at Disney.com/dconcert. [Release | Reuters]

ESPN Deportes debuted a traveling roadshow, ESPN Deportes en Vivo!, aimed at Hispanic sports fans. [Release]

Food Network hired Sergei Kuharsky as GM; he was previously EVP of marketing at In Demand.

Fox News Channel launched a mobile channel, foxnews.com/mobi, with Third Screen Media. [Release]

France 24, a French news channel, eyes U.S. [New York Times]

H2O: Hip Hop on Demand announced a broadband content licensing deal with Blastro at the SXSW music fest in Austin, TX. [SXSW] H2O’s VOD content is available on Comcast and Cox.

HBO premieres the feature-length doc Addiction on Mar. 15. The centerpiece of its Addiction Project, the film and 13 related shorts will simultaneously appear on HBO on Demand and are already online, while a 4-DVD set and companion books hits stores Mar. 20. [Variety] The Sopranos‘ final scene will be set in a NJ ice-cream parlor. [AP]

HGTV will premiere Color Splash, a new series from Design Star winner David Bromstad, following the live HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2007 at 9pm ET on Mar. 18.

MTV broke its online records by serving 85.1 million streams on MTV.com last month [Release]. MTV and Mark Burnett Productions will launch the MTV Movie Awards on Yahoo on Apr. 23; the winners will compete for the "best movie spoof" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards June 3rd in Los Angeles [Release].

MTV Networks will use Rapt for e-commerce on its U.S. online properties. [Release]

Setanta Sports North America (carried on DirecTV) secured North American rights to the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup. France is hosting the sixth Rugby World Cup, which kicks off Sept. 7. [Release]

Sundance Channel will premiere Channel 4’s documentary about U.S. assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. [C21 Media]

TV Land celebrates the 30th anniversary of Three’s Company with a marathon on Mar. 17. [Release]

VH1 Classic airs (live) the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony tonight at 8:30pm ET; this year’s inductees include Patti Smith. AOL will stream the event live.
Shirley Brady

• Click here for 360AM news briefing for Friday, Mar. 9 >>

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