360PM — PM news briefing for Wed., May 16 >>
Verizon is planning to launch quad play bundles this year, COO Denny Strigl told Reuters, which also quotes Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt saying the success of cable’s joint venture mobile service with Sprint will be evident in a year or so. Strigl said Verizon is on track with its FiOS targets. Britt also told Reuters that Time Warner Cable and other operators are working together on a unified interactive advertising platform: "We’ve figured out that we need to have some commonality across the cable industry because advertisers like to buy in big national footprints." EchoStar, meanwhile, extended its deal with Century Tel to offer triple play bundles of TV, phone and broadband. [AP]
Sumner Redstone’s daughter Shari, who runs National Amusements Theaters in addition to serving as vice chairman of Viacom, reiterated her opposition to Comcast‘s goal of offering premium-priced VOD movies the same day as their theatrical release. Redstone told Entertainment Weekly, "The revenue streams for movies begin in the theaters. This proposal would hurt the studios overall, and the quality of movies would go down. Filmmakers don’t want to make films that are made to be seen at home." Five of the six major studios are shrinking DVD and VOD/PPV windows in a test with Comcast in Denver and Pittsburgh, although Disney and Warner Bros. have publicly balked at day-and-date VOD/PPV releases. An unidentified studio exec tells EW: "Nothing in these tests is good for the studios. Comcast absolutely sees this as the play of the future, with the first step being day and date with DVD; the next step is creating a window prior to DVD, and the ultimate step is theatrical … The question is, do any of the studios really feel this is the future and are they in for that?”
Move over, Al Gore: Fox News Channel will start increasing its enviro-coverage while Speed may start racing hybrid cars, if News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch has his way: he tells Grist the racing channel "can get a lot of green programming" as part of the company’s planned eco-push. In the meantime, Speed taps NASCAR champ Tony Stewart Saturday as a pit reporter for its first primetime broadcast of a Nextel Cup race. [AP]
Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield reiterated his opposition to the Dolans’ bid to take Cablevision private in a note this afternoon that commented: "The Dolans were all smiles at the NCTA cable convention this year, with one friend of Chuck Dolan yelling down the stairs at the Four Seasons hotel: ‘Congratulations, Mr. Dolan you’ve finally won.’ We believe investors should NOT APPROVE the $36.26 Dolan family offer; rather they should push for a higher bid of at least $42 per share today, or force the Dolans to wait several months to enable a bid closer to our 12-month target of $50."
• IN OTHER NEWS
As expected, MLB approved the sale of the Atlanta Braves to Liberty Media, greenlighting the tax-free transaction with Time Warner.
TiVo shares rose today after an upgrade by Bear Stearns. [BusinessWeek]
Texas Instruments will profit as cable operators ramp up VoIP telephone roll-outs, its CEO tells BusinessWeek.
Millennium Digital Media prepares to exit Maryland and transition Anne Arundel County to Comcast. [Maryland Gazette]
AT&T‘s entertainment ad sales head Karl Spangenberg explains company’s bullish advertising projections. [Clickz]
2007 BET Awards (June 26) could be dominated by Beyonce, who picked up six nominations today.
CNN‘s interview between Dr. Sanjay Gupta and U2’s Bono is available in its entirety as a podcast at CNN.com’s "Paging Dr. Gupta" podcast lounge and on iTunes.
Discovery Health‘s Get Fresh with Sara Snow tackles eco-power on May 24.
FoodNetwork beefs up its online cookbook collection with Ellie Krieger’s Healthy Recipes launching May 20.
Lifetime‘s Memorial Day programming includes salute to armed forces ahead of Army Wives premiere on June 3.
MSNBC will televise two DNC presidential debates this fall (with MSNBC.com once again streaming): Sept. 26 in New Hampshire and Oct. 30 in Philadelphia.
The Science Channel’s first annual "Space Week" (May 6-12) nabbed 50% primetime ratings increases among Men 25-54 and Men 18-49 versus the current quarter average.