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Also: FCC seeks more data on Verizon-MSO deals; Netflix's House of Cards suffers a setback; Moto says the set-top future is bright

Broadcasters Push for Basic Cable TV Encryption

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
3/9/2012
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Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • The Big Four U.S. TV broadcasters joined the cable industry in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change a rule that allows MSOs to encrypt basic tiers in all-digital cable systems. CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) (Fox), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) (ABC) and NBCUniversal LLC (now part of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)) claimed a rule change would ensure the "secure delivery of high-value broadcast content," pointing out that satellite and telco TV distributors already lock up their basic tiers. Boxee 's among those rallying against any changes, claiming that many of its users rely on "clear QAM" to obtain basic cable programming. (See Boxee, Cable Spar Over Video Encryption .)

  • The FCC is seeking more data on the service-bundling agreements forged by Verizon Wireless and four cable operators as part of the agency's review of the carrier's proposed purchase of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). Verizon Wireless and the MSOs have argued that the bundling components have no bearing on the spectrum sale, but the FCC said it found that "portions of the commercial agreements are inseparable from the proposed license transfer." (See Rivals Try to Freeze Verizon-MSO Spectrum Buy .)

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is starting to learn that developing original content is not a walk in the park. Its upcoming series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey is in danger of being bogged down by a budget battle between director David Fincher and independent studio Media Rights Capital. Fincher wants more money and has threatened to leave, reports The Hollywood Reporter. (See Netflix Shopping for Original TV Series.)

  • It's Motorola Mobility LLC 's turn to reaffirm its love for the set-top box business, blogging Thursday that the role of the set-top is evolving to become a gateway that serves as the home's "entertainment hub" that hooks up with TVs and a growing number of IP-connected devices. (See Cisco: 'We Love Set-Top Boxes' and Why Google Will Dump Moto's Cable Biz.)

  • The ad sales arm of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has launched Enhanced iTV, an interactive ad product that lets advertisers deliver targeted messages based upon the time of day. TW Cable's launch of Enhanced iTV in New York City, Cincinnati, and Charlotte, N.C. comes into view soon after Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced advertising J.V., decided to shut down its national interactive ad platform. (See Cable's Canoe Sinks Interactive Ad Business .)

  • mPortal Inc. has unveiled Springboard Media, a TV Everywhere authentication system for smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. It's pitching it to cable operators, programmers and other content owners, and starting off with support for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and devices that speak HTML5.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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