Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, Nov. 20 »

Our Kaypro machines are on the fritz in the Cable360 newsroom. Good morning.

Yesterday’s 360AM speculated that we would soon see many headlines about the acquisition of one of the two U.S. satellite distributors, as well as headlines with the word “Iran” in them. We’re still dreading the scary headlines about Iran, but in the meantime we’ve got a couple of stories about satellite. SmartMoney and Forbes.com report that EchoStar’s stock bounced back on Monday on “renewed reports of a possible takeover.” EchoStar, the parent of Dish Network, reported disappointing third-quarter results on Nov. 12, but shares shot up 19% yesterday, fueled by rumors of an acquisition by AT&T. [SmartMoney | Forbes.com]

Cable operators are not alone in their opposition to FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s call for renewed regulation of the industry and enforced a la carte programming. According to InformationWeek, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow/Push Coalition, the League of Rural Voters and the Hispanic Federation are in agreement that the a la carte business model would endanger minority-owned networks and also drive up monthly cable bills for rural subscribers. Like cable operators, they believe that current subscriber packages help finance diverse programming. [InformationWeek]

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives are against FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s plans to regulate cable operators, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s expected that 24 House Republicans will send a letter to Martin today saying that his proposal to give the FCC more authority over cable operators is a mistake. [Wall Street Journal]

Comcast’s basic video subscribers in Detroit now get the operator’s high-definition channels, the Detroit News reports. Previously they had to pay for a more expensive programming tier to receive HD channels. Basic subscribers will still have to rent an HD set-top box from Comcast to fully enjoy the channels. Comcast made its HD channels available to basic subscribers as a response to DirecTV’s offering of more than 80 HD channels and to the introduction to the Detroit Metro market of AT&T’s U-verse, the News says. [Detroit News]

Charter Communications is deploying BigBand Networks’ switched digital video management server in its Los Angeles-area system. [Converge!]

With the “specter of a recession” looming, Boston Globe freelancer Linda Stern recommends that consumers “say goodbye to HBO,” among other cost-cutting measures. [Boston Globe]

In CableFAX Daily: FCC commissioner Robert McDowell discusses chairman Kevin Martin’s invocation of the 70/70 threshold. Cable360 editorial director Seth Arenstein leads a webinar on advanced advertising on Tues., Nov. 27. Among the participants will be Mitchell Oscar, EVP, Carat Digital, Carat North America; Olivier Wellman, director product development, OpenTV; David Porter, SVP, new media, Cox; Jeff  Segal, SVP, new media, ESPN; and Tom  Walsh, SVP, Navic Networks. To register for the webinar, go to www.cable360.net/webinars/.

Yesterday’s 360AM
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