Cable360AM — News briefing for Monday, Oct. 29 »
Speculation that Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Parsons will resign "as soon as" this week, according to a story posted Friday on The Times of London‘s website, sent its stock price zooming (notes Henry Blodget) and was promptly refuted by Time Warner, reports Crain’s. Newsweek‘s Johnnie Roberts hears from an insider that Parsons’ plans will be made public by Nov. 7, when Time Warner reports 3rd quarter earnings.
DirecTV slotted the NHL Network HD on channel 215, introducing the channel with a sneak peek Friday night for the Buffalo Sabres-Florida Panthers game. DirecTV’s full-time carriage is slated for Wednesday, bringing its HD tally to 75 — and even with EchoStar‘s latest HD channel count on Dish Network, which just launched the high-def hockey channel. Charter Communications, meanwhile, confirmed it will add the channel next month in "select" markets including St. Louis. More details here.
Verizon‘s third quarter profit dropped 34%, while revenue increased 5.8% over 3Q06. It added 202,000 net new FiOS TV customers, for 717,000 total FiOS TV subscriptions at the end of the quarter. It now counts more than 1.5 million total video customers including its DirecTV partnership, which added a net of 85,000 customers in the quarter. The company also added 229,000 net new FiOS Internet customers for 1.3 million total, or 8 million total broadband connections between Verizon DSL.
The FCC is planning to strike down exclusive arrangements between cable operators and apartment building management companies at the agency’s open commission meeting on Wednesday. "Exclusive contracts have been one of the most significant barriers to competition,” FCC chairman Kevin Martin comments in this morning’s New York Times, adding that cable prices have risen “about 93% in the last 10 years. This is a way to introduce additional competition, which will result in lower prices and greater innovation."
The FCC must vote by Dec. 31 on Verizon’s request to charge competitors to lease access to its network, a proposal that could cost small businesses "billions of dollars in added telecom costs," reports the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND)and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) called for a congressional hearing into corporate stifling of Web and cellphone usage, citing Comcast‘s P2P bandwidth management flap and complaints concerning Verizon Wireless. [AP | Dow Jones]
The Consumerist blog keeps hammering Comcast, posting an alleged script for customer service reps asked about BitTorrent throttling, plus supposed insider confirmation it’s using Sandvine for online traffic control.
Cablevision announced its 2008 "price adjustment" / rate hike late Friday night.
AT&T‘s U-verse battle in Connecticut will be determined by state superior court judge Robert F. McWeeny, who held a hearing Friday and intends to issue a ruling "soon," reports The Republican-American. Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal reversed his anti-AT&T position last week and asked the state DPUC to grant AT&T a stay until the matter is resolved.
DirecTV was ordered by a court on Friday to reimburse a customer $13.42 for overcharging Penn. state taxes.
Hulu, the Web video portal co-owned by NBC Universal and News Corp.’s Fox, launched a private beta (if you didn’t get an invite, you can check out the site’s video player with an episode of The Office on CEO Jason Kilar’s blog). MGM and Sony joined Hulu’s studio roster of Fox and Universal, and over 15 cable networks are participating with NBC and Fox. Hulu’s video syndication affiliates include Comcast.net, AOL, Yahoo, News Corp.’s MySpace, and NBCU’s MSN. [Release | NY Times | LA Times | AP | FT | Silicon Alley Insider | Paid Content]
Cable networks are having a hard time this season retaining viewers during commercial breaks. 20 cable networks fell 10% or more in primetime after their live ratings were converted to C3 commercial ratings, reports Mediaweek, citing MediaVest research.
DVR households watch about the same amount of television on a time-shifted basis as they do in real time, reports TV Week, citing Marquest research. Jack Myers also released new research that 50% of homes without DVRs want them (or 100% of TV households want DVRs.)
CTAM released new research today indicating that Hispanic homes with HDTV are more likely to take high-definition service from a cable operator than from a satellite TV provider: 57% of Hispanic HDTV homes in its latest "Pulse" survey subscribed to a cable HD package while 33% subscribed to a satellite HD service.
BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, will launch BBC America HD early next year (already being touted on-air) and will bring four themed video-on-demand channels to the U.S. in 2008: BBC Entertainment on Demand, featuring shows including Doctor Who; BBC Knowledge, including Top Gear; BBC Lifestyle, featuring What Not to Wear; and CBeebies, its UK children’s brand featuring the Teletubbies. The BBC World news channel will also relaunch next year in a bid to expand it beyond its New York launch on Cablevision, reports The Guardian.
Court TV announced two new series (Sky Racers and One False Move) plus a new tagline to go along with its new name, truTV, on Jan. 1st: "Not Reality. Actuality." More details in the press release and B&C‘s cover story.
Discovery Communications signed its first syndication deal, signing a two-fer U.S. syndication deal with Debmar-Mercury for Deadliest Catch and American Chopper. [Hollywood Reporter]
HBO revised its pay-per-view figures for the May 5th Floyd Mayweather Jr./Oscar De La Hoya bout to 2.4 million PPV buys (from 2.15 million) and $134.4 million in domestic PPV revenue (from $120 million), reports ESPN.com.
MTV Networks‘ MTV, VH1 and CMT are creating entertainment and gaming "experiences" (on-air, online and on mobile) around lyrics. MTVN’s recently greenlit Name That Tune series will run on all three networks as part of its back-to-music push.
Oxygen founder, chair & CEO Gerry Laybourne, who cashes out of her now-owned-by-NBCU network by year-end, will join the board of Symantec on Jan. 1. She also serves on the boards of Insight Communications, Move, Inc., and in the non-profit world, the NCTA, Cable Positive, Vassar College and the National Council for Families and Television.
Retirement Living TV added a seniors’ housing resource center on its website.
Spike kicks off its 13-picture "Spike Guy Movies" franchise on Nov. 25 with Until Death, an original movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The Wall Street Journal looks at John Malone and Barry Diller’s prickly relationship, with Diller saying he wants to end IAC‘s relationship with Liberty Media to "preserve his own legacy" after his successor at IAC is determined.
The Financial Times looks at Google‘s wireless aspirations, and quotes co-founder Sergey Brin saying "the fundamental issue is we don’t have enough innovation in the US market in particular in mobile."
InGrid‘s digital home security services will launch on Shentel Corp., a subsidiary of Shenandoah Telecommunications Company, starting in Virginia immediately and expanding throughout mid-Atlantic and SE U.S. early next year. CableFAX executive editor Mike Grebb interviewed InGrid founder and CEO Louis Stilp earlier this year — view the video.
CableWorld contributor Simon Applebaum will interview Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless and Integra5 CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley this afternoon on his Tomorrow Will Be Televised webcast on nowlive.com.
The Office Convention, a fan-organized event this past weekend in Scranton, PA, attracted 14 of the NBC hit series’ cast members and producers and writers, only one of whom had ever been to Scranton before. "We’ve been imagining this town for five years. It’s been a very big part of our lives," exec producer Greg Daniels said. "It’s as if we’ve been reading the Oz books and then actually visited Emerald City." [AP | Philadelphia Inquirer] • Catching up? Read Friday’s Cable360AM briefing >
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