Commentary by Paul Maxwell Much Ado About? Let’s give Disney/ABC (and new leader Robert Iger) some credit for cojones. They’re willing to "try" stuff. And even admit they don’t know the "answers." That’s what experimentation is all about. In Atlanta last week, it was awfully hard to ignore the lead in last Monday’s The Wall Street Journal. It sure got more than few cable operator executives wondering initially, "Well, what the ??????" Bypass us? Nah. It’s a trial. And, to the eternal credit of our leaders up there on those (mostly dull, except for the closer and Bill Goodwyn’s with Matt Bond, Sean Bratches, Fred Dressler, Lindsay Gardner, Bob Clasen, C.J. Kettler and Daphne Kwon) general session panels, they were polite and politic. And the word of the week became additive … pronounced in a "hopeful" manner, of course. But the most amazing thing about the article? It was a surprise (really) to the Disney/ABC execs in Atlanta at National. And, boy oh boy, did they ever scramble Monday morning … and sing and tap dance the rest of the time, too, somewhat effectively. Now, as most of us know, articles like that don’t appear out of the ether. In fact, it looked as if the press folks had leaked/timed the story to appear at the Show. Turns out, that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the "slap in the cable faces" that some took it to be. Oh, the press folks were "working with" the reporters from The Journal all right … but for a more complete and rounded story "sometime soon." But the reporter knew what he had; and he (and his editors) knew how to time it for maximum impact. So, what might it mean? Does it fit the CNET News headline? "Free Net TV threatens telecoms and cable." And the deck: "Walt Disney’s bold move to let people download TV shows for free could spell trouble for cable and satellite providers, but it also throws into question the strategy of telephone companies spending billions to get into the paid TV business." Not quite (except to perhaps get Wall Street to raise more telco-related questions). But it helps add to retransmission consent noise. (No, ABC didn’t do this as a harassment shot across Les Moonves’ bow. I suggest cable use it, though.) This isn’t the fabled workaround the gatekeepers. (Imagine that kind of bandwidth!) It is, however, one more element of today’s chaotic mix of industries, plans and dreams. And as Lindsay suggested to Fred and Matt … let’s hold our tongues and see what happens. Random Notes

The Daily


Welcome Back to Wrexham

Watching Season Two of FX’s “Welcome to Wrexham” (premiered on the network Sept. 12, arrived on Hulu the next day) feels an awful lot like coming home, even for those of us that have never visited the Welsh city or set foot on a football pitch.

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