News Briefing for Monday, May 19, 2008

It’s only day two of The Cable Show. Doesn’t it feel like day 102? Greetings.

That didn’t take long. Microsoft has begun making noises that its interest in Yahoo has returned, The Wall St Journal reports, citing unnamed sources. Apparently Microsoft might just go for a deal to acquire some of Yahoo, not all of it. Microsoft proposed a deal related to ads that run next to Internet search results, The Journal says, noting “the move by Microsoft appears to be an attempt to stop Google from entering a search-related deal with Yahoo that’s now under discussion and could be announced in coming days.” [WSJ]

Drinks later today are on FX’s chief John Landgraf (who’ll be at the Fox booth this afternoon in New Orleans, a darned good place for drinks, by the way). The 45-year-old has signed a new three-year deal with the network, The Journal says, citing sources. [WSJ]

There will be more than a few smiles on the faces of affiliates this morning in New Orleans as word spreads that Hallmark Channel’s eternally young Janice Arouh has been promoted to EVP, Network Distribution and Service. The announcement was made public at Commander’s Palace last night by Hallmark Channel chief Henry Schleiff at the start of a dinner for affiliates, friends of the Channel and press. We’re biased, but this might be the best news of the Show so far.

Is MSG a regional network or a national player? Trick question. In a way, it’s both now that ION has acquired rights to its Emmy winning special 50 Greatest Moments in Madison Square Garden. Episodes will run on ION Life and on ION on Sundays at 6 pm, beginning June 15.

It seems there’s little relief anywhere for beleaguered advertisers. While online search advertising still is strong, the online category overall is experiencing a slowdown in advertising, The NY Times says. The biggest hurt is being absorbed by fancy display ads and the culprit is, you guessed it, the economic downturn. And prices for online ads seem to be declining. Prices for online ads bought through ad networks dropped 23% from March to April, according to PubMatic. The Times says large Web publishers did the worst in the PubMatic survey, “with the prices they received through networks dropping 52 percent.” [NYT]

Small cities and towns are building municipally run Internet service that moves faster than cable or telco connections. Needless to say cable and the telcos have attempted to block such efforts as they focus their marketing of Internet service on large cities, The Wall St Journal reports. [WSJ]

Briefly Noted

Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff will recur on FX’s Nip/Tuck this season as a doctor, The Hollywood Reporter says. [THR] Got a tip? Contact sgoldstein@accessintel.com and sarenstein@accessintel.com

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