Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, Nov. 27 »
A Cable360 newsroom staffer has been accused of skipping commercials—more later. Good morning.
The FCC is set to meet today at 11 am ET (delayed from 9:30 am) and vote on expanding its powers over cable operators, among other issus. Already things have changed, however. In addition to the late start, the FCC has removed the multicast must-carry proposal from today’s agenda.
The vote on power over cable is based on the FCC’s finding that operators have grown too large and need additional federal regulation. Cable operators have been lobbying commissioners to defeat the proposal to tighten their own grip on the industry, claiming the data used in the FCC’s finding to prove that operators had reached the “70/70” threshold is inaccurate. The operators’ lobbying “may be paying off,” the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal report. [New York Times | Wall Street Journal] Today’s CableFAX Daily laments scheduling changes at the FCC, like the 11-hour delay before the Sept 11 meeting earlier this year. That one was set to start at 9:30 am (like today’s meeting) but didn’t get going until 8:30 pm, due to the amount of compromise that was required. The Daily fears today’s session might be a repeat performance.
NBC Universal made a deal with TiVo that will give the media company’s TV networks, including NBC, Telemundo and Bravo, access to the digital video recorder company’s viewership data, the Wall Street Journal reports. TiVo’s ratings of programs and commercials, based on its recorders’ usage data, along with its demographic data, would be used to help NBC Universal advertisers keep pace with the changing habits of TV viewers. [Wall Street Journal]
A deal between AT&T and EchoStar for the latter company’s Dish Network is not imminent, according to news reports. EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen is said to not want to cede control of his company. [TVPredictions.com]
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett updgraded his rating of DirecTV to market perform from underperform because of the satellite distributor’s superior high-definition programming lineup. [TVPredictions.com]
Verizon is raising prices on its primary FiOS TV package by about 12%, CNNMoney reports. The price hike will take effect after Jan. 20. [CNNMoney]
Discovery Communications is renaming Discovery Times Channel. On Jan. 27, it will henceforth be known as Investigation Discovery, the Washington Post reports. Discovery Times was a joint venture with the New York Times Co.; the partnership ended last year. Crime shows from Discovery’s programming library will fill out Investigation Discovery’s lineup initially; 200 hours of original programming are in the works. [Washington Post]
ION Television secured rights from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution to The Drew Carey Show. The Emmy-nominated series will launch on ION with a New Year’s Eve marathon starting at 7pm ET; the series will join ION’s regular primetime lineup after that, running Monday through Thursday at 9 and 9:30pm ET. The show is one of only seven network sitcoms to have lasted nine seasons.
Eye on IPGs
Not surprisingly, a new study released this morning by Gemstar-TV Guide International and Comcast’s ad sales unit Comcast Spotlight about Interactive Programming Guides shows consumers want IPGs and use them often.
8 of 10 users of i-Guide, the industry’s most widely deployed IPG, say they “always use their IPG.” Consumers are seeking guidance and get it from IPGs, the study also concludes. And 65% of consumers use IPGs while watching a show to see what’s on other channels, it says. The advertising piece? One-half of i-Guide users report noticing ads on their IPG at least once a week, the Lieberman Research Worldwide study said.
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