News Briefing for Wednesday, April 23, 2008 The new premium channel being launched by Viacom’s Paramount Pictures in conjunction with partners MGM and Lionsgate will likely be headed by former Showtime executive Mark Greenberg, Reuters reports. Greenberg would be competing head-to-head with his former boss at CBS Corp.’s Showtime, Matt Blank, not to mention the new programming boss at HBO, Sue Naegle. The hiring of Greenberg may be perceived in the media as part of the jousting for power between Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves. Both Viacom and CBS are controlled by Sumner Redstone. [Reuters | New York Post | BusinessWeek]
Comcast has been complaining that poorly installed U-verse TV service is causing network problems for customers who subscribe to both its services and AT&T’s Internet protocol products, Ars Technica reports. These “feedback” problems have affected about 17,000 Comcast customers in the Chicago area and began after AT&T rolled out U-verse. AT&T has not addressed these problems, and now Comcast is turning to the courts for assistance, Ars says. [Ars Technica]
Yahoo’s first-quarter earnings report was “solid,” but not impressive enough to strengthen its case that it should get a higher offer from Microsoft, which has been trying to buy it for what seems like 10 years, the New York Times reports. Yahoo said its net income increased to $542 million, or 37 cents a share, from $142 million, or 10 cents, from a year earlier. If Yahoo does not agree to Microsoft’s purchase terms by this Saturday, it will be subject to an upheaval of its board of directors. [New York Times]
Time Warner Cable did not collect franchise fees from its customers living in territory that was once outside the city limits of Austin, Texas, but was subsequently annexed by Austin. Customers within city limits must pay a franchise fee to Time Warner, which is then passed on to the city. A city audit revealed that Time Warner neglected to collect $1.1 million in franchise fees from the newly annexed territory. The cable operator has promised to pay up. [KLBJ]
Busy Ion is at it again, entering a content agreement with CBS Television Distribution for broadcast syndication rights to Mandy Pantinkin starring in the crime drama Criminal Minds and drama-fantasy-thriller Ghost Whisperer, starring the dramatic, fantastic and thrilling Jennifer Love Hewitt. Both series debut on the network next year in prime time. Ion’s recent deals include series like Boston Legal, The Steve Harvey Show, Family Feud and Quantum Leap.
Oxygen will revamp its brand in June with a new logo and tagline. It developed the approach after surveying its audience, which, it says, consists of "young trenders who consume and heavily and influence others’ spending patterns." The network calls these women Generation O. In addition Oxygen intends to be everywhere, with a multiplatform strategy that will make Oxygen content available online, in NYC taxicabs and colleges and on mobile platforms. Newly acquired by NBCU, Oxygen will target the 18-49 demo, while hyper focusing on 18-34s. It will launch an ad campaign next month to tout Generation O and new tagline Live Out Loud.