Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, July 10 »

Call it a Wi-Five for Google. FCC chairman Kevin Martin will circulate a draft proposal to his fellow commissioners today pushing for "sweeping new rules" incorporating Google’s Wireless vision for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction. Martin tells USA Today his proposal "to provide a truly open broadband network" will foster competition and innovation while allowing consumers to "use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restrictions," except for illegal or "harmful" applications. Martin’s wireless open access plan is a victory for Google, notes the Wall Street Journal, which led a consortium of high-tech companies advocating rules that would force the winner of a large chunk of spectrum to allow end-users and vendors the ability to attach any device or application to that spectrum. Google’s stake in the auction: it wants to fund the construction of a wireless U.S. broadband network by a third-party and then lease use of the spectrum to others, rather than offer broadband directly itself. The FCC’s final wireless rules are due to be released shortly, with the auction slated to start in January.

Comcast shuffled its programming networks and content acquisition groups under Matt Bond and Jeff Shell (click here for details) while GSN pres/CEO Rich Cronin announced his resignation.

Former fuse head Catherine Mullen resurfaced as head of international content acquisition and development for Dailymotion, a French Web video portal that launches today in the U.S. Joining her on its U.S. management team: Joy Marcus, former SVP of global marketing at Time Warner, and Danny Passman, a former VH1 and MTV Networks exec like Mullen, who was GM of MTV UK and Ireland before joining fuse.

All eyes will be on Rupert Murdoch at Herb Allen’s annual Sun Valley, Idaho, conference, which starts tomorrow, reports Reuters. Beside’s Murdoch’s $5 billion bid for Dow Jones (on which Allen is advising), News Corp. is being investigated by UK’s Competition Commission in connection with BSkyB‘s bid for a 17.9% in ITV, according to The Guardian. Also attending Allen & Co’s media confab this week: Sling Media‘s Blake Krikorian, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen with his new start-up Ning, IAC‘s Barry Diller and former Viacom CEO-turned-Vanity Fair scribe Tom Freston with his stealth start-up, Firefly3 LLC. Freston registered the domain firefly3.com in October but it’s still inactive.



• IN OTHER NEWS

Apple will launch a cheaper, Nano-based iPhone later this year, according to a JP Morgan analyst. [Reuters]

AT&T plans to market U-verse in Florida’s Palm Beach and Broward counties by year-end. [Sun-Sentinel]

Cablevision was downgraded by Deutsche Bank to "Hold" from "Buy," based on analyst Doug Mitchelson’s view that Cablevision’s Dolan family offer of $36.26 per share to buy the company and take it private would not be raised beyond $40 per share. [AP]

DirecTV tapped LA-based design studio ROGER for its 11-spot pay-per-view campaign spoofing instructional videos with the tagline "Life is Hard, Pay-Per-View is Easy." Click here to view.

Gemstar-TV Guide shares are up 14% following yesterday’s news the company is for sale. [Bloomberg]

Google is buying online security and encryption company Postini for $625 million. [Reuters]

Liberty Media is likely to seek full ownership of DirecTV within 12 months, according to Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet. [Reuters]

Motorola is buying Leapstone Systems, a software start-up that bundles voice, video and data services.

Netflix‘s movie download service has delivered 5 million downloads since January.

NeuLion, the IPTV service co-owned by Cablevision’s Charles Dolan and computer magnate Charles Wang, will distribute the Sky Angel Christian TV networks.

Nielsen/NetRatings announced it will start using total time spent on websites (vs. page views) as its primary measurement metric.

Time Warner Cable NY/NJ is offering up to 10% discounts on triple play bundles if customers sign one or two year contracts. [DSL Reports] To compare the savings (of up to $400, says TWC) click here and enter 11103. The company also promises a free month of service if it (vaguely) "cannot show you how to save money on your cable bill."

Verizon‘s FiOS TV now reaches an additional 15,000 households in Virginia Beach and Newport News, VA.



• PEOPLE

CNN promoted Susan Bunda to EVP of content development and strategy, a new position, from SVP of news for CNN U.S.

Comcast‘s Eastern Division named VP of programming Michael Ortman to head up its new Local Video on Demand team, with day-to-day operations managed by Noah Kodeck. The duo have overseen the division’s award-winning Get Local VOD efforts since 2004, including Candidates On Demand, Fugitive Files, Scholarships On Demand, Troop Greetings, Pet Adoptions, and hyper-local offerings such as festivals and spelling bees.

Facebook hired former AOL exec Chamath Palihapitiya as VP, product marketing and operations.

NBCU Digital Distribution (formerly NBCU Cable) promoted Michael Aaronson to VP, digital platforms, from director and hired Charlie Tiersch as director, digital business development (from director, business development, Showtime) and Keith Eich as director, digital platforms-operations (he was previously in NBCU’s Technology Growth Center). Stacy Melle’s role as VP of marketing for digital distribution was expanded to include TV marketing and promotion across NBCU’s digital platforms, electronic sell-through and mobile.

NBCU Domestic Television Distribution promoted Kimberly Kleid to VP, programming and development, from director. She adds West coast cable TV and talent development to her duties developing first-run syndication programming.

Sigma Systems hired Gary Gibbs as VP, channel development; from VP, global channels and alliances, Intec.

Sun Sports and FSN Florida promoted Cathy Weeden to SVP/GM of both networks, from VP/GM of Sun Sports.

Sundance Channel launches its programming in high definition in a block on NBCU sib Universal HD starting Aug. 1. The branded programming block, sponsored by Microsoft and running through Dec. 26, includes Sundance channel original series Iconoclasts, Big Ideas for a Small Planet and Live From Abbey Road.



• PROGRAMMING

ABC pulled repeats of ABC Family‘s Kyle XY, and this Friday will repeat last night’s premiere episode of ABC Family’s new series Greek. [TV Week]

Adult Swim announced July 22 as the series finale for Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Bravo launched a first-of-its-kind interactive polling channel (powered by Ensequence) for Dish Network viewers watching Top Chef 3. Bravo previously tested live polling on digital cable with Time Warner Cable.

HBO renewed its movie output deal with 20th Century Fox through the end of the next decade. The extended agreement — in tandem with its output deals with Universal, Warner Bros., New Line and DreamWorks — gives HBO more movies than Starz and Showtime combined. HBO will pay an average of $6 million-$7 million per title in its new Fox deal, which "dragged out" over VOD and broadband terms, reports Variety. Separately, HBO’s Voyeur campaign is too marketing-related, not viral enough, blogs the New York Times‘ Virginia Heffernan.

HDNet‘s Mark Cuban asks: "Why is it that everyone is excited about programming every other medium, but I’m the only one excited about programming for HDTV?"

Hustler TV expanded its distribution deal with Third Degree Films.

MASN‘s bid to get carried on Time Warner Cable was backed in a letter from the GMs and presidents of North Carolina’s nine MLB teams. MASN and Time Warner have entered arbitration to resolve their carriage dispute. [AP]

NBC earned its highest Wimbledon Men’s Final ratings Sunday since 2004, with a 3.2 rating and 9 share for Roger Federer’s fifth straight Wimbledon title.

NBC Universal‘s cable networks and NBC attracted 19 million viewers (and 8 million just on Bravo) to Saturday’s Live Earth concerts; details here.

NBCU and Starcom USA completed their upfront cable deals using average commercial ratings for USA, SCI FI, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal HD, minute-by-minute commercial ratings for Bravo. "The Bravo deal is the first of its kind struck by NBC Universal using the new minute-by-minute commercial data unveiled by Nielsen in January 2006," NBCU said in a statement. Starcom has been championing minute-by-minute commercial ratings, which the agency also used in its recent upfront deal with Discovery Communications. Starcom’s NBCU agreement includes digital platforms and content integration for its clients including Allstate, Best Buy and Kellogg’s.

NBCU announced this year’s class of interns for its NBCU on the Set affiliate marketing promotion with cable operators and NAMIC.

WisconsinEye launches today to Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable digital customers in Wisconsin.

Broadcast networks are using their downtime this summer to "burn off" remaining episodes in cancelled series, such as NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. [USA Today]

Click here for Monday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

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