Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, Oct. 17 »

Cablevision‘s biggest shareholder, ClearBridge Advisors, will vote against the Dolan family’s $10.6 billion proposed buyout in next week’s shareholder vote. ClearBridge, which owns 13.6% of Cablevision, announced this morning it will block the Dolans’ offer of $36.26 a share at the Oct. 24 vote, reports the New York Times. ClearBridge’s move means Cablevision’s three largest shareholders — Mario Gabelli’s Gamco, with 8.2%, and T. Rowe Price, with 5.7% — are blocking the Dolans’ bid to take the company private.

Cablevision CEO James Dolan yesterday said his family’s offer is final: "I want to state emphatically that there will be no modification of the family’s accepted offer to acquire Cablevision. We are looking forward to next week’s vote and hope that the transaction is approved, but I’d underscore that I am completely prepared to continue to lead the company into the future as a public company if the transaction is not approved."

The Wall Street Journal dismissed this story on TheStreet.com claiming that AT&T is taking a hard look at acquiring EchoStar. "Turns out a number of bankers have been pitching the Dish business to AT&T, but they haven’t been solicited by the telecom giant in a formal ‘bake-off’ to see who gets the gig," the WSJ comments. "Also, should EchoStar go ahead with the breakup, it could have to go into a moratorium for an estimated six months to two years to keep the deal’s tax-free status."

The House yesterday approved a four-year extension to the Internet Tax Moratorium, which was set to expire Nov. 1. American Cable Association pres/CEO Matt Polka applauded the move "as another important step … to ensure broadband access remain affordable." The bill still requires Senate approval.

A federal appeals court yesterday upheld the FCC‘s 2005 ruling to deregulate DSL service. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia affirmed the regulatory status quo in which neither cable nor phone companies need to share their networks with other broadband access providers. [Reuters/Information Week]

ESPN is the first Nielsen client to sign up for a new cross-platform video measurement services crafted by its fledgling NielsenConnect unit. Marking the first deployment of Nielsen’s new TV/Internet Convergence Panel, it’s "likely to serve as a template for the future of cross-platform audience measurement," writes MediaPost, which notes that ESPN’s clients will have access to the data. More in Nielsen’s release.

ESPN‘s Monday Night Football topped cable ratings for the week of Oct. 8-14, averaging 13.03 million viewers and 9.64 million homes on Oct. 8, while TBS came in at #2 for the week, with 9.23 million viewers and 6.69 million homes for its final MLB Division Series game (Indians vs. Yankees). TBS averaged a 2.8 primetime rating for the week, when it also aired the first three NLCS games. Details here.

Baseball fans in Houston missed the final innings Monday night of the Rockies’ pennant-winning victory over the Diamondbacks when Comcast moved TBS from channel 31 to 51 at 12:15am Tuesday; local TBS HD viewers were unaffected, as that channel stayed put, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Nielsen‘s so-called C3 commercial ratings data for the week of Sept. 24-30, when broadcast networks premiered the bulk of their fall shows, indicated up to one-fifth of viewers skipped commercials during live on-air broadcasts. Nielsen’s press release highlights viewer tune-in at year-ago levels, despite DVRs doubling in that time. More from AP and the Wall Street Journal.

Comcast‘s Bay Area subscribers will get The History Channel HD, HGTV HD, Discovery HD and USA Network HD on Nov. 15, softening the blow of a nearly 5% rate hike that goes into effect in Comcast’s Northern California market that same day, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

In a first for HBO, Cinemax programming is being licensed for online consumption to a third party, the Time Warnerbacked RipeTV, which has added a Max Effect broadband channel with a smattering of free video (mainly promos). RipeTV.com in turn promotes Cinemax.com and MAX on Demand.

Donald Trump signed a deal with Verizon to install FiOS broadband in two of his NYC buildings — Trump World Tower overlooking the U.N., and Trump Park Avenue — as the start of a multi-property rollout, and will add FiOS TV as soon as it’s approved in Manhattan.

Best Buy announced today it stopped selling analog TVs on Oct. 1, and has pulled all remaining stock.


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