News Briefing for Thursday, April 24, 2008 Cable’s “Pivot” wireless joint venture with Sprint has officially ended, long after the service stopped being marketed. The dream of offering a quad play seems very far off, and might have been just a fantasy—consumers may never want to bundle a personal purchase like mobile devices with household purchases like TV and broadband, according to Telecom TV. Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s current WiMAX wireless plans remain a source of speculation. [Reuters | Telecom TV | Broadband Reports] (See also today’s CableFAX Daily)

Apple reported a 43% increase in revenue and a 36% rise in profit for its fiscal second quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year. Apple’s sales “far exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts,” and CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs said it was the company’s strongest quarter ever, the New York Times reports. Jobs told the Times that the quarter was powered by a 57% boost in traffic at Apple’s retail stores, an interesting statistic that indicates that people still like to shut down their computers, get out of the house, mingle and buy products in stores. Among Apple’s products, sales of Macintosh computers—in particular, laptops—grew the most, ahead of the iPod. Analyst David Garrity told Bloomberg that Apple’s forecast for profit in the current quarter is “the only fly in the ointment.” Apple’s numbers don’t necessarily indicate that the economy isn’t tanking after all. It could be just an anomaly that says a lot more about the quality of Apple’s products, the company’s well-considered pricing strategies and its skill at marketing than about the state of the overall economy. [New York Times | Bloomberg]

Briefly Noted
New HBO chief Sue Naegle has given the green light to the series Hung, Variety reports. [Variety]

HBO will be sponsoring the South Asian International Film Festival in New York. The festival will run October 22-28. [Indiantelevision.com]

Contract negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been extended to May 2. [New York Times]

Late Stories
CTAM’s 2008 Diversity Fellowships for the June CTAM Executive Management Program at the Harvard Business School go to: Elaine Brown, VP, Special Markets, Creative Services, HBO;  Vicky Free, VP, Entertainment Marketing, Emerging Markets and Promotions, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc; Ariela Nerubay, VP, Sales and Marketing, TuTV;  and our neighbor and friend Rose Catherine Pinkney, EVP, Programming and Production, TV One.

ESPN Deportes’ ratings will be reported by Nielsen’s U.S. Hispanic cable service, making it the 6th fully rated Spanish-language cable network. The numbers will come from the Hispanic sub-sample of Nielsen’s National People Meter panel. Some 1,700 Hispanic households are included within Nielsen’s National People Meter sample, representing 12% of all households.  Ratings start Monday.

Not a surprise that with presidential political heat on the rise visitors are turning to comedycentral.com at higher rates. The broadband presence of Comedy Central said the week of Apr 14 was its best of the year, with more than 2.2 million visitors, eclipsing the week of Feb 4 by 7%. More Comedy news, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has a big few weeks coming up with guests like Jimmy Carter (Apr 28), Newt Gingrich (Apr 29), Howard Dean (May 1) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (May 5). 

Bravo named Jerry Leo to the newly-created post of SVP, Program Strategy and Acquisitions. In addition to continued oversight of all program planning and scheduling, Leo will now be responsible for long-range planning across all platforms and for acquisitions. He’d been Bravo’s VP, Strategic Program Planning & Scheduling since 2005.

Battlestar Galactica’s sexy Cyborg, Tricia Helfer, will join the cast of USA’s Burn Notice for season 2 this summer. She’ll portray a human this time, providing a body (and what a body it is) to the smoky voice of Carla, the phone caller who threatens Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan.

Bob Costas returns on HBO Apr 29, 10pm, in a big way. Bob Costas Now will go live that night with a special exploring the landscape of sports media. Its five segments will include taped pieces, live interviews and town hall debates covering sports talk radio, the Internet and bloggers, race, sports television and the athletes and media. Guests will include Michael Strahan, Chris Mad Dog Russo, Michael Wilbon, Al Michaels, Curt Schilling, Dan Patrick, Mike Tirico, Charles Barkley and Tiki Barber. Got a tip? Contact sgoldstein@accessintel.com and sarenstein@accessintel.com.

Wednesday’s Top Stories

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RMCA Transforms into Media+Tech Collective

The Rocky Mountain Cable Association is tearing down all its boundaries. On the surface, it may look like its just-revealed rebrand to the Media+Tech Collective is the latest example of a group shedding cable

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