News Briefing for Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Cable360 honchos want tipster Brain Clark and his sidekick Joe to know that their NAB expense report will not be honored. Good day.

Top executives at Verizon and AT&T told broadcasters at the NAB show in Las Vegas that they want their TV services, FiOS and U-verse, to be considered close partners with broadcast networks, Telephony Online reports. What that means, presumably, is that the telcos want the broadcast networks to go easy on them in pricing negotiations while they’re still in their early rollout phases. What’s in it for broadcasters? The telcos say their expansive bandwidth will enable them to deliver exclusive broadcast content to their subscribers as well as “hyperlocal” news and information channels. [Telephony Online]

DirecTV is processing and transmitting local TV channels in seven U.S. cities via a deployment of Motorola’s MPEG-4 technology, Motorola announced at NAB. DirecTV has implemented Motorola’s encoders in each of the seven cities to receive signals from local TV stations. Each encoder features a terrestrial receiver so that TV signals are received and converted to MPEG-4 in a single unit. The encoder transmits its signals to a Motorola multiplexer in DirecTV’s broadcast center, where the signals from various encoders are packaged together and dispersed via satellite to DirecTV’s customers.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted on Monday to deregulate Cox’s telephone services in the state. Cox, citing AT&T’s successful deregulation bid in 2005, applied for the pricing freedom last December. [NewsOK.com]

DirecTV is suing a bar owner in Worthington, Ohio, for connecting her home service to the TVs in her bar. The bar owner subscribed to DirecTV’s NFL Ticket package for her home, and tapped that signal for the bar. DirecTV is suing the bar owner for $100,000. [Columbus Dispatch]

Verizon added The Worship Network, qubo and ION Life to its Boston, New York and northern New Jersey FiOS TV markets. The launch follows the recent addition of that ION Television Network suite to the FiOS TV lineup in Philadelphia, Southern California, Dallas, Tampa and Washington, D.C. Verizon also is planning an ION launch in Portland. [CMSpin]

Late Stories
The Cable Hall of Fame named its 2008 incoming class: George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN, Inc. & ABC Sports; co-chairman, Disney Media Networks; Dr Dick Green, president and CEO, Cable Television Laboratories, Inc; Ray Joslin, founder and former president, Hearst Entertainment &  Syndication; former senior vice president and member of the board, Hearst Corp; Susan Packard, president, brand outreach, Scripps Networks; Hub Schlafly, former president, Teleprompter; and Michael Willner, vice chairman and CEO, Insight. This class will be the first in years to be inducted outside the Hall, which is located on the University of Denver campus. As with all major cable events, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be part of 2 cable weeks next year. Ironically, the fall week will be held in Denver. The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held in October at the Colorado Convention Center. Since 1998, 65 men and women have been honored as members of the Cable Hall of Fame.

Outdoor Channel renewed its distribution agreement with #3 cable operator Charter Communications. The network has some 31 mln cable and DBS subs, according to Nielsen. 

Veteran Openheimer & Co media analyst Thomas Eagan has joined Collins Stewart, the investment banking group. As a senior research analyst Eagan will manage media research, a new area for Collins Stewart. OK, we’re biased, but Tom’s one of the brightest lights in this business and one of the classiest.

Black Television News Channel inked a multi-year carriage agreement with Comcast.  It expects that it will be added to Comcast systems in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Baltimore. Former Rep J.C. Watts (R-OK) heads the channel, which is set to launch in 2009. Got a tip? Contact sgoldstein@accessintel.com and sarenstein@accessintel.com.

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