Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, July 26 »

Comcast reported 2nd quarter earnings with a 28% increase in net profit (to $588 million, from $460 million net income in Q2 ’06) and revenue up 31% (to $7.7 billion). On the down side, it reported 241 million basic cable subscribers, a loss of 95,000 basic cable subs in the quarter. Click here for details (and here for a PDF of Comcast’s Q2 slide presentation). More: Bloomberg | Reuters | Wall Street Journal]

Adelphia founder John Rigas and son/former Adelphia exec Timothy filed a last-ditch motion for a re-trial based on discrepancies they see in former Adelphia CFO James Brown’s testimony. "In a lot of ways his false testimony hurt a lot of people," Tim Rigas said Tuesday "in a rare interview" that included brothers Michael and James and their lawyers, according to the Buffalo News. The Rigases also asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to stay their imprisonment (scheduled to begin at 12:01am on Aug. 13) while they appeal their convictions to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sprint tapped Google to provide Web search, interactive communications and social networking services for the national WiMax wireless broadband network Sprint is developing with Craig McCaw’s Clearwire. Following the FCC’s apparent snubbing of Google’s open access conditions to bid in the upcoming wireless spectrum auction, Verizon has agreed to some of Google’s conditions, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times looks at CableCARD-ready devices while BusinessWeek tech columnist Stephen Wildstrom loves his CableCARD-ready new $300 TiVo HD box, but chides Comcast because it "took Comcast installers two trips to my house—a total of about four hours’ work—and extensive consultations with TiVo technicians to get the unit running properly. This isn’t going to cut it. Cable operators and their research arm, CableLabs, must make plug-and-play a reality or the cost will be ruinous. Once the TiVo was working, it was a delight."



• PROGRAMMING

BET is holding auditions for Sunday Best, a weekly competitive gospel sing-off that premieres Oct. 2.

The Big Ten Network‘s progress (or lack thereof) as it prepares to launch Aug. 30 is being closely watched by the Southeastern Conference, which is mulling its own TV network. [Palm Beach Post]

CNN averaged 2.6 million viewers for Monday’s CNN-YouTube Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, now the 2nd most watched presidential debate this season after the June 3rd Democratic candidates’ debate in New Hampshire, which attracted 2.8 million viewers. [Hollywood Reporter]

Disney Channel‘s High School Musical 2 will hit Disney’s VOD channels (on Verizon’s FiOS TV and Cablevision) prior to its Aug. 17 linear network premiere. Verizon is planning a sweepstakes and related marketing for HSM2.

ESPN averaged 1.5 million viewers on Saturday for David Beckham’s debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy — the most-watched Major League Soccer telecast in the history of ESPN or ESPN2. ESPN2 has two Galaxy matches scheduled for August, two in Sept. and one on Oct. 18. [Hollywood Reporter]

FX‘s new series, Damages, was Tuesday’s #1 basic cable program. The Glenn Close-starring legal drama premiered to 3.7 million total viewers, matching Dirt‘s premiere in January and just missing The Riches‘ premiere to 3.8 million viewers in March. [Hollywood Reporter]

USA nabbed cable rights to Ocean’s Thirteen, License to Wed and Blood Diamond in a deal with Warner Bros. estimated at $25 million. [Hollywood Reporter]

Versus has been covering the ouster of Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen in a doping scandal, the latest drug-testing debacle for the Tour ahead of Sunday’s finale. The channel’s ratings for the 2007 Tour de France dropped 6% (to 211,544 average viewers) during the first 13 days of its live morning Tour coverage, although visits to Versus.com increased 6% while Web streaming of this year’s event increased 25% during that period, reports the New York Times.




• ONLINE

comScore added marketing segmentation to its Web measurement service.

Microsoft is beta-testing a Web metrics tool to rival Google Analytics, reports Internet News. Digg.com signed a three-year ad serving deal with Microsoft (reports AP), replacing Google as Digg’s contextual ad provider.



• WIRELESS

ESPN will launch a new mobile TV channel, EXPN on V CAST Mobile TV, with Verizon Wireless and MediaFLO USA. It will be available for the duration of ESPN’s X Games 13 (Aug. 2-5) with replays from Aug. 6-7.



• PEOPLE

GSN named David Goldhill as president and CEO, effective Aug. 1, to replace Rich Cronin. Currently a senior advisor to Associated Partners, Goldhill was president and COO of Universal Television Group from 2002-2004.

Move Networks hired Douglas Parrish as SVP of operations, from EVP and CTO at the Walt Disney Internet Group. Move’s other exec hires today noted here.

RHI Entertainment hired former Hallmark Channel EVP/COO Paul FitzPatrick as EVP.

TiVo hired Karen Bressner as SVP of ad sales, based in New York and reporting to CEO Tom Rogers. Bressner—Working Mother magazine’s 2007 Advertising Working Mother of the Year—was previously SVP, national ad sales, for Nick at Nite, TV Land and TVLand.com.

TLC hired Brant Pinvidic as SVP of programming for primetime and promoted Deborah Adler Myers to SVP of programming for daytime and fringe. Pinvidic was most recently SVP of development at GRB Entertainment while Myers was promoted from executive producer at TLC.

Veoh Networks hired Steve Mitgang as president and CEO, replacing Veoh founding CEO Dmitry Shapiro, who becomes chief innovation officer. Mitgang was previously SVP of advertising at Yahoo. Veoh also hired Sirius Satellite Radio exec Jennifer Betka as SVP of marketing.



• IN OTHER NEWS

Apple and AT&T differed in their earnings reports this week over iPhone sales: Apple reported 270,000 iPhones  sold in the first 30 hours while AT&T reported 146,000 iPhones activated during that period. CNET examines the discrepancy.

Carat Digital EVP Mitch Oscar blogs that TNS Media Research is helping Chase Card Services SVP Manning Field with a study on how people watch TV. TNS, "a global pioneer in the development of digital audience measurement services based upon set-top box data," is conducting U.S. tests with Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and content providers,

Charter Communications is offering co-branded phone directories to its customers in partnership with Yellow Book. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Harmonic is acquiring Web/mobile video start-up Rhozet for $15.5 million.

Sunflower Broadband is offering free digital set-top boxes to its customers in Lawrence, KS, through Aug. 31. "Everybody knows that technology is changing, and that everything is transitioning towards digital," said Sunflower GM Patrick Knorr, also chairman for the American Cable Association. "For the customer, we’re trying to make this as simple as possible." 

Walt Disney Co. is the first major Hollywood studio to ban depictions of smoking in its movies. [Reuters]

Click here for Wednesday’s 360AM news briefing »

Got a tip? Contact Shirley Brady at sbrady@accessintel.com

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