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Also: New EAS rules threaten small MSOs; Hulu sub update; Shaw sheds video subs; Dish 'open' to just about anything; live TV's decline

Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/13/2012
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Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition

  • A federal judge has dismissed a class action suit claiming that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) sells bundled services with hidden cable modem service fees, reports Court House News. The lead plaintiff, Athanassios Diacakis, who filed the suit last June, claimed that the MSO violated California's false-advertising and unfair-competition laws.

  • The American Cable Association (ACA) is concerned that costs associated with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's new Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules could "force the premature shutdown of some small cable systems." The ACA said some of its members, in order to comply with a new Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), will have to take on cost burdens of obtaining Internet services at headends in rural areas where a physical connection isn't available or be forced to spend big bucks on legal fees if they try to secure a waiver, which the FCC intends to review only on a case-by-case basis. The ACA said most systems without a physical Internet connection at a headend tend to serve a very small customer base and are struggling to break even or already operating in the red.

  • Hulu LLC brought in US$420 million in revenue last year, up 60 percent from the year before, and ended 2011 with more than 1.5 million paying subs. Hulu is attracting "more than 2x the number of subscribers each day when compared to this time last year," company CEO Jason Kilar revealed in a blog post. He said Hulu will spend about $500 million on content in 2012. (See Hulu: No Sale .)

  • Canadian MSO Shaw Communications Inc. lost 22,768 basic subs in its fiscal first quarter, while adding 59,566 digital video subs, 10,685 Internet customers and 22,969 new phone lines -- all lower than the gains made in the year-ago quarter. Net income was $202 million, or 43 cents per share, 4 cents lower than what analysts were expecting.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) is "open" to a potential acquisition after it builds out its new wireless services network, company CEO Joe Clayton tells Bloomberg. "We're open to all possible options," he said. "We could be acquired, or we could be the acquirer." If it's the latter, T-Mobile US Inc. is rumored to be on Dish's shortlist. (See Dish CEO Puts T-Mobile on His Wish List.)

  • From the no surprises department: A new TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) study shows that just 39 percent of TV viewing by its users is live. For customers who also use the broadband link in TiVo DVRs to access content from the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu Plus over-the-top, that figure drops to 27 percent.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:36 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


     


    I guess I see it more likely that the Major Sports Leagues will just enhance their content sites so that they work better for more people.  Why give DISH the subscription revenue when the sports guys are doing it already?


    seven


     

    kaps
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    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:36 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Wouldn't it be cool to see Dish fire up a wireless network and then introduce something like a Kindle for sports, using its Sling technology? I know there are lots of hoops to jump through for the content rights but "c'mon man!" It's high time someone made mobile sports easier. Why not Dish? Why not now?

    kaps
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    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:36 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Wouldn't it be cool to see Dish fire up a wireless network and then introduce something like a Kindle for sports, using its Sling technology? I know there are lots of hoops to jump through for the content rights but "c'mon man!" It's high time someone made mobile sports easier. Why not Dish? Why not now?

    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:35 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


     


    I guess you are suggesting something with a Satellite Receiver?  I just wonder why not have a little dongle for an existing table.


     


    seven

    kaps
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    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:35 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Seven, I was thinking of a kind of Uber device... one that crossed all lines and just provided an easy way to watch sports, with connectivity bundled a la Kindle. To me that is the biggest hurdle to watching sports online since if you have to do it through your own tablet or phone you are going to be very wary of the data download number.


    Haven't followed the Sling thing in a while so am not aware of whether they need to pay additional fees/rights for sending DISH subscriber content to a mobile device... or is that already built in to what DISH pays per subscriber? If the latter then the DISHKindle wouldn't have to pay extra, correct?

    kaps
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    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:35 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Seven, I was thinking of a kind of Uber device... one that crossed all lines and just provided an easy way to watch sports, with connectivity bundled a la Kindle. To me that is the biggest hurdle to watching sports online since if you have to do it through your own tablet or phone you are going to be very wary of the data download number.


    Haven't followed the Sling thing in a while so am not aware of whether they need to pay additional fees/rights for sending DISH subscriber content to a mobile device... or is that already built in to what DISH pays per subscriber? If the latter then the DISHKindle wouldn't have to pay extra, correct?

    craigleddy
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    craigleddy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:34 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    I think you two have identified the two main issues with your own TV sports fantasy (and BTW I'd put my money on DirecTV figuring this out before DISH). The rights issues are brutal -- the sports leagues already are creating their own channels and will be flexing their muscle on connected devices too. Then the bandwidth issues come into play since sports video needs oodles of bits -- even my cable sports picture can start blocking and pixeling when there's lots of action.


    So what's a sports fan to do? Well, it ain't so bad. Sit back and watch 4 awesome NFL games this weekend on a mega-sized HDTV!


     


     


     

    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:34 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


     


    So LTE as long as the streaming doesn't count against your 2 Gig Cap.



    WiFi - thats a tablet...I don't get the point of a tablet that just does sports.


    This is the ACTUAL problem with mobile video.  2 Gbyte bandwidth caps.  LTE is killing unlimited which means mobile video is now DOA.  Except over your home WiFi - which is what a tablet is for.


    10 Mb/s = 2 Gbytes in 200 seconds or 3 minutes and 20 seconds.  I assumed sattelite so that bw caps would go away.


    seven


     

    kaps
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    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:34 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Satellite would be cool, but Wi-Fi and LTE (if DISH launches that network as rumored) would probably be sufficient. Unless you are the cowboy in the ESPN commercial and you really want to watch sports while home home on the range.

    kaps
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    50%
    kaps,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:45:34 PM
    re: Comcast Dodges Modem Fee Lawsuit


    Satellite would be cool, but Wi-Fi and LTE (if DISH launches that network as rumored) would probably be sufficient. Unless you are the cowboy in the ESPN commercial and you really want to watch sports while home home on the range.

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