Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, July 25 »

The FCC is poised to reject Google‘s conditions for the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. At a House Subcommittee hearing yesterday in Washington at which all five FCC commissioners testified, Google’s conditions received limited support from the commission’s two Democrats and no support from FCC chairman Kevin Martin. Ed Markey, (D-MA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, urged Martin to go further in his auction proposals to facilitate greater competition in the wireless broadband market. [New York Times | AP | Dow Jones | Hollywood Reporter]

AT&T had 51,000 U-verse subscribers on June 30, up from 13,000 on March 31, according to its 2nd quarter earnings report. More than 80% of U-verse subscribers are "taking higher-end video packages and 65% are taking our highest speed broadband services," CFO Richard Lindner said on AT&T’s earnings call yesterday.

Comcast expanded its Pivot-branded mobile phone service with Sprint in Portland, OR, throughout Oregon (including Eugene) and Southwestern Washington state, tripling its wireless footprint in the Northwest. Comcast also offers Pivot service on the opposite coast, in Boston.

Time Warner Cable beefed up its premium broadband content, tapping Synacor to program a trio of subscription online services for Road Runner high-speed online subscribers: Road Runner Variety Pack ($7.95/mo.) includes content from MLB.com, the Weather Channel, Encyclopedia Brittanica, American Greetings, Clever Island and Shockwave.com; Road Runner Music ($9.95/mo.) offers unlimited access to 2 million songs, ad-free radio and music videos; and Road Runner Music to Go ($14.95/mo.) ports Road Runner Music content to up to 3 devices.

Cablevision‘s iO (Interactive Optimum) digital cable brand was inducted into the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing‘s CTAM Hall of Fame yesterday.



• RESEARCH

MTV Networks released a global research study into kids, technology and media co-funded by Microsoft. The Circuits of Cool and Digital Playground survey found that "technology" is irrelevant to kids, with only 20% of 14-24 year-olds saying they love technology. "For kids and young people, ‘tech’ isn’t a separate entity now, it’s organic to their lives," said MTV research head Colleen Fahey Rush. "They are completely focused on functionality." Kids most enjoy watching TV (85%), listening to music (70%), hanging out with friends (68%), playing video games (67%) and surfing the Web (51%). Topping the list of 14-24s’ favorite pastimes is listening to music (70%),watching TV or hanging out with friends (tied at 65%), watching DVDs (60%), relaxing (60%), going to a cinema (59%), surfing the Web (56%), spending time with a girl or boyfriend (55%), eating (53%) and hanging out at home (49%).



• PROGRAMMING

ABC.com‘s HD channel went live this week, offering one full episode each from Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty. ABC’s broadband HD lineup will expand this fall.

Bravo is offering the first episode of Welcome to the Parker, its reality series that premieres on-air tomorrow, on Yahoo! TV, MSN, TVGuide.com, WindowsMedia.com and Zap2it.com.

With Campbell Brown joining CNN in Sept., Paula Zahn announced Aug. 2nd will be her last day.

Comcast launched Penn State on Demand, a "Get Local" VOD channel in its Eastern division offering hundreds of hours of video from Penn State University.

CSTV and Showtime‘s pro-social efforts noted in CBS Corp.‘s first Social Responsibility Report.

Current TV tomorrow launches the TV premiere of Hometown Baghdad, a controversial Web series, as short form episodes.

Discovery Channel‘s Bear Grylls busted for not living 24/7 in the wild and staging segments of the network’s Man vs. Wild series. [New York Post]

FEARnet will launch Web series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails, a 7-episode series that premieres online and on VOD on Sept. 13. The 3-5 minute mini-sodes are pegged to the Oct. 9th theatrical release of vampire flick 30 Days of Night.

Gospel Music Channel will launch Aug. 1 on Sky Angel’s satellite service and later on IPTV with the Christian television service provider.

Nat Geo Music, a new channel from National Geographic’s international TV arm (here’s a clip) will launch overseas this fall; a U.S. launch is being evaluated. [New York Post]

Outdoor Channel tapped TVN for encoding, managing and distributing its VOD content, including HD VOD, to affiliates.

Oxygen announced a 3G mobile game based on its hit series, The Bad Girls Club; and a local ad sales promotion (inspired by its Girls Gone Wired research study) that offers affiliate winners a tech make-over from Westinghouse Digital.

Rainbow Media‘s Lifeskool VOD service added a new series, Baby Sign Language.

Starz tapped film critic Richard Roeper to host Starz Inside, a new series of specials that kicks off in Sept. with Fog City Mavericks; six more Starz Inside specials are slated for 2008.

Sur Peru and TV Venezuela launched on Comcast Miami’s CableLatino package.

VH1 is running an online contest, The Score, through Aug. 20 to find the "best, undiscovered" hip-hop music producer. The winner will create the official score for the VH1 Hip Hop Honors event that will be televised Oct. 8.



• ONLINE

AOL acquired Tacoda, a targeted ad service, for an estimated $275 million. [CNET]

Facebook is open to offers of $7-10 billion. [Silicon Alley Insider]

Google acquired Fotolog in a deal estimated at $200 million to $250 million. [Silicon Alley Insider]

Joost said it now has more than 1 million beta testers and is ready to launch by year-end. [APCMag]

MySpace is projected to post $1 billion in revenue this year. [Forbes]



• IN OTHER NEWS

CableLabs‘ DOCSIS 3.0 specifications and PacketCable 2.0 received a "consent" status (for key elements of both specs) from a study group of the International Telecommunications Association, paving the way for both to become internationally-accepted standards.

Comcast tapped Thomson to supply VoIP cable modems for its digital voice roll-out.

Digital TV converter boxes don’t handle stereo sound, charges THAT Corp. CEO Leslie Tyler, who’s calling on the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) to fully disclose which DTV boxes don’t offer stereo-quality audio.

Gemstar-TV Guide signed a multi-year patent license agreement for TitanTV‘s online interactive program guide.

Insight Communications dropped the price on its triple-play TV/broadband/phone offering in Louisville, KY, from $40 to bundles starting at $25/mo. [Courier-Journal]

Time Warner Cable Buffalo spokesperson says the company could have better handled its transition of Adelphia’s former customers.

Zap2it introduced show sponsorships for its cable and broadcast network TV listings’ affiliates.



• PEOPLE

Discovery Networks U.S. EVP of ad sales Scott McGraw is retiring next month.

Facebook hired Gideon Yu as CFO, from the same position at YouTube.

NBC Universal promoted Jeff Gaspin to president and COO, NBC Universal Television Group, from president, NBCU Cable and Digital Content. NBCU also promoted John Eck to president, NBC TV Network; he retains his titles of president, NBC Media Works, and chief information officer, NBC Universal. Eck replaces Jay Ireland, who in June was named CEO at NBCU parent General Electric’s GE Asset Management division. Haydn Arndt was promoted to SVP and sales liaison, NBC Universal International Television Distribution, from VP and sales liaison, NBCU Television Distribution.

Click here for Tuesday’s 360AM news briefing »

Got a tip? Contact Shirley Brady at sbrady@accessintel.com

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