Light Reading

Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Here's a look at what's pushing cable's buttons this morning.

  • Aereo Inc. 's famous backer Barry Diller spouted some fightin' talk as the startup prepares for broadcaster-led lawsuits against a new service that uses special, thumb-sized antennas to take in over-the-air TV signals and ship them to customers via broadband. "It's going to be a great fight," Diller said Sunday at the SXSW confab in Austin. He says Aereo will talk about paying fees to broadcasters when they can "get Radio Shack to pay you some slice of their profit when they sell an aerial." Aereo's US$12 per month service, which also includes a network DVR component, is set to debut Thursday in New York City. (See Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack and Aereo Makes Cord-Cutting Bid in NYC.)

  • Former SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) President Yvette Kanouff is to become EVP of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s technology group, and will start there this week, reports Multichannel News. Kanouff left SeaChange last month, and going to an MSO is among her viable near-term options. Her departure from SeaChange, a video software specialist that counts Cablevision as a long-time customer, included a one-year non-compete clause. (See Now SeaChange Loses Its President.)

  • Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR) got a step closer to acquiring the set-top box chip assets of Trident Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: TRID) on Friday (March 9) when the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the deal. Entropic expects to close the deal before the end of March. (See Entropic Takes $55M Stab at Trident and Entropic Sweetens Pot to Win Trident .)

  • DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) has plans to launch its own over-the-top video streaming service as a customer retention tool, though it's not expected to be as big as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s new Streampix subscription offering, says Forbes. (See Comcast Goes OTT to Target Netflix, Hulu Plus .)

  • Charter Communications Inc. has launched a national "All In" customer guarantee program that includes a 30-day money-back guarantee for new customers, and a $20 credit if the MSO is late for a scheduled appointment window, doesn't complete the service call on the first visit, or if a customer's service is out for more than 24 hours.

  • ZiXi LLC , a startup that's developed a low-latency video-over-the-Internet platform, has tapped Dennis Albano as CEO. Albano is the former CEO of digital media software firm Signiant Inc.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:39:43 PM
    re: Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

     Yeah, that's not really a spot-on comparison that Diller's trying to make... plus, I'm struggling to see how this is not some form of retrans.

    I also see that Diller's predicting that Aereo will be in as many as 100 cities this year.  Ambitious, for sure, and that will only happen if they can sidestep an injunction that could put the company itself in some jeopardy if the broadcasters are successful in obtaining one. JB 

    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:39:43 PM
    re: Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

    Aereo opponents argue that Aereo, unlike Radio Shack, performs an action on the broadcast signal (in this case converting it to IP for Internet transmission.)

    I think both sides have some interesting arguments and I'm sure many people will be watching closely to see how this is resolved. 



    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:39:42 PM
    re: Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

    Cablevision confirmed this afternoon that Yvette Kanouff has indeed joined the MSO as EVP, engineering, software design. Not many specifics mentioned on what that will entail, but I suspect alot of work around UI. JB

    User Rank: Blogger
    12/5/2012 | 5:39:39 PM
    re: Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

    Yvette cut her teeth on Time Warner Cable's Full Service Network, the soup-to-nuts interactive TV trial in Orlando, FL that ran from 1994 to 1997 and was a pioneer of VoD. From TWC through Seachange, she's seen it all in terms of next-gen on-demand technology. While she'll be an asset to CVC efforts like serving connected devices, I think she could really help in making CVC's RS-DVR effort flourish.

    On a personal note, she was the first person to really explain to me what the heck video servers and QAM modulation were!   

    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:39:37 PM
    re: Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters

    Translating QAM -- that says it all right there. The FSN still represents something special to me... first time I took any real notice of cable technology when I was a maybe three years out of school and had a chance to see a demo at an event in Orlando.  It was an expensive experiment, but it paved the way for digital cable and cable VoD... and even iTV apps. But agree that Cablevisoin would seem to be a good spot for her. JB




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