Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, July 3 »
NBC Universal gave NBBC affiliates 30 days notice that the broadband video venture is being closed as a standalone business ahead of September’s launch of NBCU’s joint Web video portal with News Corp. (Lost Remote posts the shut-down memo to affiliates). NBBC, which launched in September, was led by GM Brian Buchwald and overseen by Mike Steib, NBCU’s GM of strategic ventures. NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker told the Financial Times the NBCU/News Corp. site (dubbed NewSite for the moment) will have a legally-cleared name this month, and won’t include user-generated content because advertisers aren’t "clamoring" for it.
The American Cable Association criticized the FCC for denying waivers to many small cable operators ahead of the July 1 ban on integrated set-top boxes and mandatory start of CableCard-ready boxes. Small operators who received a set-top integration ban waiver (until Sept. 1, notes Light Reading) from the FCC before the July 1st deadline include Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Bresnan, Suddenlink and Sunflower Broadband.
Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt, co-founder and vice chairman of 700MHz spectrum-bidder Frontline Wireless LLC, yesterday said the iPhone demand shows the need for ubiquitous (preferably 4G) high-speed wireless coverage in the U.S., reports InformationWeek. AT&T said yesterday it had resolved iPhone activation problems while some iPhone users were hit by a six-hour shut-down of AT&T’s Edge network. Other customers were unable to port their old cellphone numbers to their iPhone due to portability restrictions, reports the Wall Street Journal. Pic of the day is on Fake Steve Jobs.
Political ad buys are warming up, reports Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney placed 297 national cable ads (of 4549—mostly local broadcast—TV ads) through June 10. The only other national cable ad buyer: Democrat Chris Dodd, who placed 4 spots. Republican hopeful John McCain led for Web advertising but his website ranked 4th among the candidates, with Dem. Barack Obama #1 for unique visitors and page views.
Cablevision‘s Rainbow Media Holdings completed its sale to Comcast, which purchased Rainbow’s 60% stake in Fox Sports Net Bay Area and 50% stake in FSN New England for about $581 million. Cablevision also reported in a proxy filing to the SEC its capital spending is expected to decrease to $582 million in 2011 (from $697 million this year) and its free cash flow should more than double, from $1.2 billion in 2007 to $2.9 billion in 2011. Sanford Bernstein analyst commented that Cablevision’s 2011 capital spending estimate would be "a level last seen in … well, never," notes the New York Post.
WWE wrestler Chris Benoit’s former neighbor (who says she found the Benoits’ bodies) is holed up in Boston while AP reports that Benoit’s former physician pleaded not guilty yesterday to a seven-count federal indictment. The charges: he allegedly over-prescribed steroids to Benoit and improperly dispensed painkillers and and other drugs to two other patients. Dr. Phil Astin will be on house arrest and must surrender his medical license.
• IN OTHER NEWS
Charter Communications asked for a death certificate before allowing a father to shut off his deceased son’s cable service, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.
Comcast may be looking overseas to expand and start eyeing overseas acqusitions, writes BusinessWeek.
Cox Communications launched HD movies on demand in San Diego, with Northern Virginia and Oklahoma City next.
DirecTV launches DirecTV-10, its HD satellite, Friday.
Google confirmed its acquisition of GrandCentral, a start-up that creates (for free) a single phone number and voice mailbox. Google’s ad sales execs are pitching media buyers and planners on Google as a complement to TV advertising, reports the Financial Times.
Motorola completed its acquisition of MPEG-4 provider Modulus Video.
Movie Gallery, owner of VOD service Movie Beam, may put itself on block, reports Reuters.
Nielsen and Sony will develop a system to track ads in game networks, for which Sony will share PlayStation data.
Time Warner Cable launched a real-time traffic channel with the New York State Dept. of Transportation in Albany.
Verizon applied for a cable TV franchise under the state’s new 5-day franchise approval law to add 77,000 FiOS homes in Tampa (where FiOS currently reaches nearly 2 million households) and expanded FiOS Internet in Buffalo. The company also launched a "Be Famous With Verizon FiOS" promotion in Rhode Island to find locals to feature in an upcoming FiOS TV marketing campaign.
HBO former chairman Chris Albrecht spotted by the New York Post‘s Page Six.
MSNBC is expected to name Joe Scarborough as its permanent morning replacement to Don Imus, athough the deal hasn’t officially been signed yet, writes the New York Post.
MTV ordered a fourth season of Laguna Beach.
NBCU‘s physical monitoring of DVR users is profiled in today’s New York Times, where one advertising exec quips, "I’m not ready to jump on cost per perspiration."
Universal HD is supporting NBCU’s Live Earth concerts extravaganza with related programming including a "Green Week" this week (through Saturday) that includes the premiere of Sundance Channel‘s Big Ideas for a Small Planet on Universal HD. NBCU is a part-owner of Sundance, whose Big Ideas series also debuted on Amazon.com’s HD DVD Indies project yesterday.
Vivid Voyeur TV debuts on DirecTV as a monthly pay-per-view special this month; the Vivid Entertainment Group series will be available to cable operators via In Demand in September.
Cox Communications SVP of strategy and communications Dallas Clement was named chairman of the board of Simtrol Inc., a software company based in Norcross, GA.
Time Warner Cable South Carolina VP of public affairs Bud Tibshrany announced his retirement.
Vyyo hired former Charter Communications VP David Feldman as the company’s chief technology officer.