Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, Nov. 7 »
Time Warner Cable‘s third quarter earnings report this morning posted the company’s largest quarterly net increases in triple play subscribers (220,000 adds, for 2.1 million total on Sept. 30) and digital phone subscriptions (275,000, for 2.6 million total). The 2nd largest U.S. cable operator also lost a net 83,000 basic video subscribers in the quarter, continuing the third quarter trend of basic cable subscriber losses at Mediacom and Comcast. Time Warner Cable’s net quarterly profit declined to $248 million, or 25 cents per share from $1.2 billion ($1.20 a share) a year earlier, while revenue rose to $4 billion from $3.2 billion. Time Warner Cable also reaffirmed its full-year outlook. Also reporting third quarter earnings today: Discovery Holding Company and DirecTV, which reported quarterly growth on HD and DVR sales; more details here. Cablevision reports third quarter earnings tomorrow.
The NFL Network is urging cable customers to cancel their service from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other operators that refuse to carry the league’s channel. The escalation follows the Oct. 23 meeting of NFL team owners that appointed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as their emissary to MSOs. "I’m talking to various markets and asking them to cancel out Comcast, cancel out Time Warner and go with the other people," Jones is quoted in USA Today. "I think it will be very effective." The NFL Network begins carrying games Thanksgiving night, when the Indianapolis Colts play the Atlanta Falcons.
Mediacom in Dispute—The Des Moines Register reports Mediacom is in a tussle with ABC affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids over subscriber fees, similar to the retrans problems Mediacom had with Sinclair earlier in the year. KCRG filed suit last week in Cedar Rapids. Mediacom told the newspaper the dispute is not “adversarial.” Both sides want the court to decide the case, a Mediacom official said. KCRG claims its retrans agreement with Mediacom expires on Dec. 31 this year. Mediacom says it expires on that date in 2013. Mediacom is Iowa’s largest cable operator. Shares fell to a 52-week low of $5.02, down 8.6%, from Monday’s price. The MSO on Tuesday posted a third quarter net loss of $36.3 million versus a loss of $89.8 million one year earlier. It lost 13,000 basic subs in the quarter; Mediacom said it gained 40,000 RGUs during the quarter. Pali Capital downgraded Mediacom from neutral to sell. [Des Moines Register]
L.A. Times Urges Quick End to Writers’ Strike—There’s more at stake during this strike of the Writers Guild of America than there was during the Guild’s strike back in 1988, the L.A. Times says in an op ed today. Back then “the disruptive technology” was cable, today it’s the Internet, which is giving those deprived of new television episodes plenty of other entertainment choices, not all of them legal. “While the writers were walking the picket lines…consumers around the world were buying more than 1.8 million pocket-sized music and video players, 600,000 video game machines and countless video games to play on them. They picked up 2.1 million computers, 140,000 camcorders and 9 million cellphones, at least 1 million of them capable of tuning in video from the Internet,” the paper says. And there’s user generated entertainment. “YouTube may not be HBO, but it beats the heck out of community access cable.” The bottom line, says the Times, is that neither side will benefit from a protracted walkout. [Los Angeles Times]
Wisconsin to Vote on State Cable Regulation—Wisconsin’s state senate will vote tomorrow on a bill to deregulate the state’s cable industry, putting franchising in the hands of state officials. The move stems from the telcos’ push to get a single franchise authority for each state. In an opinion piece in the University of Wisconsin student newspaper The Badgerherald, student columnist Adi Lev-er writes the bill will not be a win for consumers, but a victory for AT&T. “In reality, it is one company’s not-so-subtle campaign to increase profits.” [The Badgerherald]
AT&T trimmed the number of homes it plans to reach with U-verse by next year, shaving 1 million homes off its 2007-08 rollout plans in a filing with the SEC yesterday. It now plans to make its IPTV service available to 17 million homes by year-end ’08, while increasing its capital spending on the rollout from $4.5 billion to $5 billion, instead of spending $4 billion to $4.5 billion as previously estimated. [AP | Dow Jones | Reuters]
Comcast signed a digital carriage agreement with America Channel yesterday, covering 26 Comcast markets starting in early 2008. The deal also includes seven regional sports networks that America Channel will launch next year: AC New England, AC Northeast, AC Mid-Atlantic, AC Midwest, AC Mountain, AC South and AC West. The affiliation agreement ends a long-standing dispute between the companies.
As the TV and film writers’ walkout enters its third day and no talks have been scheduled to end the WGA strike, at least seven series have halted production, including today’s final shoot day on ABC‘s Desperate Housewives, reports AP.
Leichtman Research‘s latest HDTV survey found that one-quarter of U.S. households have at least one HD-ready TV set, about double the high-def penetration of two years ago.
Animal Planet will air CNN‘s Planet in Peril, a two-part special co-hosted by wildlife biologist and Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin, on Dec. 2-3.
CNN HD launched to Cablevision’s iO digital cable subs with HDTV service.
CSTV Networks hired Julie Hansen as SVP of CSTV Interactive.
Discovery Channel and The Science Channel promoted Jill Goldfarb to VP of programming and Katherine Nelson to VP of communications.
Food Network promoted Susie Fogelson to VP of marketing and brand strategy.
MTV Networks promoted Laura Molen to SVP, ad sales, for VH1 and The N.
Playboy‘s third quarter earnings reported its domestic TV revenues dropped to $17.6 million from $20.5 million a year ago.
Saavn licensed its Bollywood music and video content to Verizon Wireless and Verizon FiOS TV.
Veteran cable producer Thom Beers’ Original Productions has expanded with the launch of uberSight, an integrated branded marketing unit led by Tom Arcuragi as SVP as strategic media and content.
Vyyo named Christopher Graham VP of sales.
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