Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, July 31 »

Having squabbled through yesterday’s 5pm deadline, Dow Jones‘ controlling shareholders the Bancroft family have accepted News Corp.’s offer to buy the company, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal and a Dow Jones executive this morning quoted by Reuters. CNBC, which broke the news of Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion offer for Dow Jones, also reported this morning the sale is "a done deal" with 32% support from the Bancrofts enough to sway Dow Jones’ vote in Murdoch’s favor. Terms will be finalized at News Corp.’s 4pm board meeting and Dow Jones’ board meeting this evening. Spurred by the specter of Murdoch’s October-launching Fox Business Network integrating with the Wall Street Journal, CNBC is still in talks with the Financial Times‘ publisher Pearson PLC about joining forces, Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino told reporters yesterday in London. [IHT]

Bids for Insight Communications were due yesterday but "have been delayed by more than a week by [Insight owner Carlyle Group’s] bankers at Morgan Stanley to give private-equity bidders more time to line up financing," reports the Wall Street Journal on the gridlock in global private equity markets — a slowdown the WSJ says has convinced Time Warner Cable to also kick the tires (along with Comcast and Liberty Media) on UK cable operator Virgin Media.

The FCC will decide today on the rules for its upcoming auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum; Bloomberg has more. The FCC yesterday issued a call for comments on the DTV transition, notes BetaNews.

Rogers Communications, which reported a 2nd quarter loss today, shot down rumors it’s eyeing Shaw Communications, a fellow Canadian cable operator, reports Reuters.



• PROGRAMMING

Big Ten Network CEO Mark Silverman says in a Q&A, "we can make it worth the cable operators’ while if they can see sort of the rationale of being on expanded basic." Silverman’s sweeteners to potential affiliates include an HD channel and extra games that won’t run on BTN for broadband and VOD.

Bravo features Michelle Pfeiffer on Inside the Actors Studio, Aug. 6 at 7pm.

CBS reported 2nd quarter earnings with revenues down 3% (to $3.4 billion) due to the loss of UPN, the early NCAA men’s basketball finals this year and the sale of radio and TV stations.

Chiller announced a Dare to Direct short film contest. Entries can be uploaded on chillertv.com from Sept. 5-17 with voting from Sept. 21-Oct. 1; the winner will be announced on Halloween night.

CNET TV joined Cablevision‘s VOD platform; it launched last year on cable VOD with Cox Communications.

Comcast Philadelphia launched Best of Philly On Demand, an ad-supported VOD channel on its Get Local On Demand lineup in partnership with Philadelphia magazine. Peter Heumiller, Comcast’s VP of original programming, commented, "We think Best of Philly On Demand offers a great model for launching similar local content in other markets across our footprint."

Discovery Channel‘s Sunday night kick-off to its 20th annual Shark Week, Ocean of Fear, attracted 3.9 million viewers, a Shark Week record.

E!‘s season finale on Sunday of The Simple Life Goes to Camp with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie will mark the end of The Simple Life on E!, which is not renewing the series.

ExpoTV announced additional funding from DFJ Gotham Ventures and 132% growth in Videopinions user-contributed submissions in the 2nd quarter.

Hallmark Channel is shooting Shark Swarm, an original movie starring Daryl Hannah, John Schneider and Armand Assante, for a 2008 premiere. [Hollywood Reporter]

HBO tapped Grass Valley’s HD equipment to help transition its 26 channels to "pristine high-definition."

HITN launched on Comcast Chicago’s Selecto Complete Hispanic channel lineup.

NBC launched SundayNightisFootballNight.com to promote its Sunday NFL games starting Sept. 6.

NBCU relaunched its affiliate website, NBCUNetworks.com.

Planet Green, Discovery’s eco-centric channel launching in the 1st quarter, is developing a green lifestyle series with Adrian Grenier, better known as Vincent Chase in HBO‘s Entourage, and a green fashion series (reports Ecorazzi). Grenier hosted a poker fundraiser this past weekend at Project Greenhouse, the Hamptons site of a reality series featuring Plum TV staffer Josh May, a meat-eating, smoking blogger who just wrapped living in the sponsored house in an effort to "go green" (and even "date green") for 30 days. His endurance test can be viewed online via Healthination, Raj Amin’s health-based channel that’s on cable VOD with Bresnan, Charter, Cox, Insight and Mediacom.



• WIRELESS

Buzzwire launched a beta preview of its streaming mobile TV service, which users can customize; backers include Spark Capital.

Comcast now offers Pivot-branded mobile phone service with Sprint to more than 200 New England communities following this week’s launch in Cape Ann, MA, including Gloucester, Manchester, Essex, and Rockport. [Boston Globe]



• ONLINE

Google blogs about CEO Eric Schmidt’s "summer of policy."

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is launching a community-developed search engine (using human input) that aims to compete with Google. [Computing]



• IN OTHER NEWS

New research from the CFI Group indicates consumers prefer telcos’ bundles to cable operators’ bundled offerings; more in the press release (click here for a PDF).

AT&T will spend $350 million to upgrade its North Carolina network and launch U-Verse.

Cablevision is battling New Jersey’s Public Advocate, Ronald K. Chen, who asked the FCC to reverse a June 26 "effective competition" ruling that allows the operator to set basic cable rates in Montvale, West Milford and Elizabeth without seeking state approval. [NorthJersey.com]

C-COR announced it’s bringing "VOD in a Box" with Comcast Media Center to Phonoscope (an indie cable operator in Houston) at the Independent Show this week in Monterey, CA.

Cox Communications is offering free broadband service to low-income Oklahomans. After a year they can keep Cox’s Internet service for a discounted $9.95/month. [Oklahoma City Journal-Record]

HickoryTech‘s new digital TV service in Mankato and Janesville, Minn., enables a la carte selection by allowing customers to cherrypick their own channel lineups from more than 200 digital channels, in addition to Caller ID on TV and other features.

NAMIC will hold a workshop for TV writers of color on Sept. 17, during its annual conference in New York.

SES Americom announced at the Independent Show it added CableOne and Cox Communications to its HD-Prime service, joining Comcast, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, RCN and independent cable operators who use the service’s three HD satellites.

Time Warner Cable is bringing Caller ID on TV and Start Over to its Dallas customers, notes Dallas Morning News in an article about set-top boxes’ (including Digeo‘s) advanced features. 

Verizon‘s FiOS TV launched in Melrose and Middleborough, MA; and was approved in Long Island’s Town of Islip and village of Floral Park.

Vyyo, which is shedding 16% of its workforce this year (and demonstrating its UltraBand platform at the Independent Show), hired Jon Koval as VP of sales; he was previously VP of sales at BigBand Networks.

Click here for Monday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

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