Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, Nov. 30 »
FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s monthlong assault on cable operators continues. Just days after he tabled his plan to expand the commission’s powers over the cable industry, Martin convinced two other commissioners to join with him in voting for a plan to put a limit on the number of subscribers a cable operator can serve, giving him a majority vote, reports the Wall Street Journal. Under the plan, a cable operator will not be allowed to serve more than 30% of cable customers nationally. Cable trade group NCTA and Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the U.S., are expected to fight the plan on Capitol Hill. [Wall Street Journal]
Hollywood writers were blocked from gaining real power and earning the big money during the movie industry’s formative years in the 1920s and ’30s and, apparently sensing that history is about to repeat itself as the nation turns its bloodshot eyes toward their computer screens and handheld devices, have chosen to remain on strike for however long it takes. The Writers Guild of America last night rejected the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ “New Economic Partnership,” a peace offering intended to bring an end to the current writers strike. The offering was a package of proposals that addressed writers’ concerns over payment for shows and movies distributed outside the realm of traditional TV and theatrical releases, the New York Times reports. The guild said fees for programs streamed on the Web, for instance, were still far too low. The writers strike will soon enter its fifth week. [New York Times]
NBC’s flagship station, WNBC-TV in New York, has begun airing commercial spots for distilled spirits, the New York Times reports. The other three big national broadcast networks have policies against showing liquor ads. So far, NBC is allowing the spots to be shown only on its local station in New York, a city renowned for its extensive public transportation system. No reason to drink and drive in this town. [New York Times]
The Daily News says that complaints to city hall about Time Warner Cable’s service in New York City doubled in 2007, compared with the previous year. Complaints to city hall about Cablevision, which serves customers in the boroughs of Brooklyn and the Bronx, dropped in 2007. [Daily News]
So-called advanced advertising has hit a snag on the Web. In response to a petition drive, social networking website Facebook will now make it easier for a member to opt out of an advertising program that sends messages to the member’s friends about his or her online purchases. [New York Times]
EchoStar president and vice chairman Carl Vogel sold 40,000 shares of the company’s common stock this week, according to an Associated Press story picked up by CNNMoney.com. [CNNMoney.com]
Shalom TV is presenting more than 10 hours of coverage from the 2007 United Jewish Communities General Assembly, held earlier this month in Nashville.
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