360PM — PM news briefing for Tuesday, May 15 >>
NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow today called on Congress to reform the Federal Communications Commission, urging that the FCC only intervene when consumer rights are threatened. His case was presented in a speech at the Media Instititue in Washington, D.C. "Rather than tie favorable regulatory treatment to a particular technology, government policy should make regulation the exception rather than the rule for all communications services," McSlarrow argued, calling for an FCC role "more like that of the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC would have authority to intervene in the marketplace only if it determines that marketplace competition would not adequately protect consumers against unfair methods of competition or unfair and deceptive practices. There would be a presumption against regulation, and in fact all FCC regulations would sunset in five years." [Release | Speech-PDF] McSlarrow’s remarks—which he acknowledged were not "revolutionary" and echoed earlier comments by Verizon lobbyist Tom Tauke and others—were aimed at FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who reiterated his "more competition for cable" mantra in an interview with MarketWatch. Martin also wants the USF to fund rural broadband expansion. [National Journal]
AT&T group operations president John Stankey addressed Reuters’ Global Telecom and Media Summit today, announcing that the telco is pondering EchoStar as its sole satellite ally and ending a marketing agreement with DirecTV for legacy BellSouth markets. AT&T is also projecting $1 billion revenue from wireless and U-verse ads in 3 years and is miffed that it’s shut out of the upcoming 700 Mhz wireless spectrum auction as an incumbent provider.
Google and EarthLink face resistance to proposed free Wi-Fi service in San Francisco from the city’s Board of Supervisors. [San Francisco Chronicle]
DirecTV sued over alleged "bait and switch" DVD player offer. [Madison Record, IL]
Comcast started notifying subscribers about the NFL Network‘s court-approved shift to subscription sports tiers including this web page and FAQ. The NFL appealed the NY Supreme Court ruling on Friday.
• UPFRONT WATCH
Media buyers accept a mix of commercial ratings and live plus 3 day DVR data [reports TheStreet.com] while Hispanic nets—including Telemundo/mun2, Fox Sports en Espanol, Azteca America and Fox Pan American Sports—woo advertisers this week. [Reuters and the New York Times recap ABC’s upfront, plus Telemundo in the NYT recap.]
ABC sibling ESPN also pitched advertisers today with upcoming original programming including Bronx is Burning, its eight-part series starring John Turturro as former NY Yankees manager Billy Martin (July); a new hourlong fantasy-sports series (Aug.); SportsCenter 300, a weekly 4-part series about SC’s award-winning commercials (Sept.); ESPN Reports, a weekly newsmagazine (premieres in October); and a feature-length documentary on former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Variety has more. On the digital front, ESPN.com launched video podcasts of The SportsCenter Minute (also coming to ABC in Sept.), the "big finish" from Pardon the Interruption, the "first word" segment from Around the Horn and other short-form video clips, which will also be available on iTunes. ESPN also is getting back in the mobile game with ESPN MVP – click here for more.
The Parents Television Council, meanwhile, urged advertisers to consider their responsibility to children as they weigh sponsorships in this upfront.
Animal Planet kicks off weekly movie block on May 19 with Stuart Little.
BabyFirstTV raises ire of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood advocacy group.
Cablevision‘s Rainbow National Services hosts bondholder call on Friday.
here! joined Time Warner Cable San Diego’s SVOD lineup.
Lifetime Movie Network sponsors student filmmaker competition.
MTV Networks will develop new media properties based on Gain Inc. comic book properties.
WisconsinEye, a statewide public affairs network, announced carriage deals with Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.
Comedy Central teams with Viacom sib AtomFilms for season 2 of Test Pilots broadband video competition.
E! announced original broadband series—Bad Kitty, A Song by Julia, The Thin Crowd and V.I.D.S—for its broadband player, The Vine, and for other platforms including mobile.
Google Video head Jennifer Feikin is leaving the company. [Fortune blog]
GSN named Frank Cartwright VP, online entertainment.
Sling Media will allow users to boost broadband speeds through a deal with GetConnected, which has deals with Comcast and Time Warner Cable. [Reuters]
TLC announced Makeover Train, its first broadband series, launching June 4.
YouTube wants to meet with Pentagon officials after yesterday being blocked (along with MySpace and 11 other "recreational Internet" websites) on the Dept. of Defense Web network available to U.S. military personnel. [MarketWatch | New York Times | Washington Post | DoD memo-PDF]
• IN OTHER NEWS
Cablevision CFO Mike Huseby exercised options for 10,001 shares. [AP]
Discovery Communications‘ former CEO Judith McHale heads up Businesswomen for Hillary, a "Hillraising" network for Dem presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. [Chicago Tribune]
Eagle Broadband sold a portion of its fiber network to Optical Entertainment Network (OEN).
GE CEO Jeff Immelt says company has no plans to sell NBC Universal. [Reuters]
Motorola‘s new "kick slider" phone, the Moto Z8, hits Europe and Asia next month with pre-loaded video including a full-length movie, Universal Pictures’ The Bourne Identity, plus news from CNN, music and games. The Z8 uses 3G networks for over-the-air downloads. Moto also unveiled at its press event today in New York a new Rokr Z6 line of mobile devices that include music from Napster, expanding on the first Rokr music phone released in ’05 with Apple’s iTunes. [Release]
Lobbyists (including Comcast and the state cable association) spent more than $4 million in Tennessee to battle AT&T‘s push for a statewide video franchise. [Nashville City Paper update]