Cable360AM — News briefing for Monday, August 20 »
Disney Channel‘s High School Musical 2 premiere Friday night attracted 17.2 million viewers and shattered cable records. Click here for details.
NBA TV is being acquired by an unidentified media company. The channel’s 68 full-time employees are being offered buyout packages, based on length of service, through the end of September. The network is in 12 million U.S. homes — via carriage deals with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and DirecTV — and 73 countries worldwide. [Bloomberg]
Cable operators are balking at providing the NFL Network with carriage. The channel has retaliated with an email blast that asks fans to disconnect cable and sign up with satellite service. "They believe no matter what they do, you have to do it," said former Time Warner Cable EVP of programming Fred Dressler, in explaining why cable executives find the NFL arrogant. [Wall Street Journal]
Robert Halmi’s RHI Entertainment is releasing a slate of 24 movies that will premiere on VOD. The films are budgeted at $3 million. [USA Today]
The recent dip in Time Warner‘s share price is linked to the market’s more skeptical view of AOL‘s revised game plan. [Financial Times]
Sprint is apparently sending out signals that all is not well with Pivot. The mobile phone service, a joint venture with top cable operators, is showing signs of a slow start. [BusinessWeek]
• IN OTHER NEWS
AT&T is garnering rave reviews from investors — so far — with financial results that show its merger with BellSouth resulted in cost cuts and greater earnings. [Barron’s]
Gemstar-TV Guide is accelerating stock options and other financial housekeeping as it explores a possible sale. Comcast and Google are said to be among the potential buyers. [Bloomberg]
MTV and The Associated Press have released results of a huge study on kids and happiness. [MTV]
A new study from Magna Global shows that cable networks are much more likely to load their own promos into the "A position" commercial pods of programs than broadcast networks.
Comcast scored a legal victory in Chicago last week over DirecTV in the companies’ false advertising counter-suits; click here for details.
NBC Universal is debuting a multi-network environmental-awareness campaign, "Green Is Universal," on Nov. 4. It includes both programming and consumer events. [Chicago Tribune]
Comcast is thwarting ISP customers’ BitTorrent sessions, according to bloggers. [ZDNet]
Time Warner Cable Media Sales is testing a local ad sales technology from Live Oak Interactive in two markets to repurpose TV spot advertising to Internet-based platforms.
Walt Disney Co. is demanding that the University of Washington retract a study claiming that Baby Einstein and similar DVDs slow the vocabulary development of infants. [Video Business]
Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolf has scored a book deal for a bio of Rupert Murdoch, and dedicates his September column to the News Corp. leader. [New York Times]
The FCC set Jan. 16 as the date for its auction of 750 Mhz wireless spectrum. Final comments on its auction plan are due Sept. 7. [Reuters]
A U.S. appeals court rejected a challenge to public access channel user fees, dismissing a suit filed against Time Warner Cable by a woman in Akron, Ohio, who protested TWC’s $25 charge to broadcast public access shows. [Akron Beacon Journal]
Sunday’s New York Times looked at cable operators’ VOD business and concluded that more movies are needed. Comments Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett, "They built a Ferrari of a delivery engine, but the content owners didn’t show up."
Building B, a Silicon Valley start-up, announced a $17 million round of venture capital funding and the addition for former Sony BMG chairman Andy Lack to its board. It’s developing a set-top box that will wirelessly transmit high-definition TV content, Web video and other live and archival digital media into "a seamless VOD environment." Its team includes former staffers of USDTV, Clearwire, Showtime and Sony. The New York Times has more.
A&E reality star Duane "Dog" Chapman is fighting a $300,000 U.S. federal bond that remains against him despite a Mexican court’s dismissal of charges against him in the Andrew Luster case. [AP]
Cartoon Network will restrict the use of its characters and properties on junk food, following similar guidelines from Discovery Kids, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.
Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart today kicks off "Operation Silent Thunder," a first for the network (and the show) featuring live reports from Iraq filed by correspondent Rob Riggle. The former U.S. Marine’s week-long series of reports will be posted (the day after they air) online.
Fuel TV promoted CJ Olivares to general manager, from assistant GM.
HBO has renewed Entourage and Flight of the Conchords.
Janet Stilson is filling in for Shirley Brady, who is on vacation.