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Also: Videon joins the Comcast RDK ranks; Yahoo links up with NBC Sports; SEC targets Netflix over Facebook post; HBO CTO is retiring

Sprint Eyes Dish Partnership

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
12/10/2012
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Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is seeking a partnership with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) that would let the satellite TV giant offer its own brand of mobile services over the Sprint network, Bloomberg reports. In exchange, Sprint would obtain access to Dish's wireless spectrum and give Dish the opportunity to enter the mobile phone and data business without having to build its own wireless network. But everything's on hold as Dish waits for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on Wednesday (Dec. 12) that reportedly will allow the company to use 40MHz of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)-4 spectrum in the 2GHz band without having to support its satellite-based access requirements. Dish has already agreed to release 5MHz of that spectrum for use as a guard band with the adjacent H-block, which Sprint is eyeing for its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. (See Dish's Wireless Fate to Be Sealed Next Week and Dish's Wireless Plans Could Get 'Crippled'.)

  • Media streaming firm Videon Central Inc. has licensed Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid QAM/IP set-tops and gateways and IP-only video client devices. Videon said the license will enable it to offer software products and services to its semiconductor and consumer electronics customers. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction .)

  • Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Comcast-owned NBC Sports Group have struck a joint content and promotions deal covering the Web and regular television. The deal includes provisions to develop original video programs for the Web and the rights for Yahoo! Sports to offer live streams from NBC's top live sporting events, including Sunday Night Football. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and CEO Reed Hastings received a "Wells Notice" from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) threatening civil action over alleged disclosure violations about five months after Hastings posted on Facebook that the company's streaming totals "exceeded 1 billion hours" in June. Hastings maintained in an SEC statement that the disclosure was not material, that a posting to more than 200,000 people on Facebook is "very public," and that Netflix is optimistic that it will quickly clear up the matter. Netflix stock spiked more than 6 percent after the post on July 3, but Hastings argues that shares were rising before that, and "likely driven" by a positive research report from Citigroup the evening before. (See Netflix Sets Streaming Record .)

  • HBO CTO Bob Zitter is retiring on March 31, 2013, after more than three decades with the premium programmer, reports Multichannel News, noting that the cable pioneer will continue to serve the company as a consultant "for several months afterward" as a yet-to-be-named successor moves into the role. Among his achievements, Zitter oversaw HBO's digital transition in 1992, its move into HDTV in 1999 and he was the technical lead for HBO's jump into video-on-demand and multi-screen, TV Everywhere services. He joined HBO in 1981, and was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2006.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 4:00:16 AM
    re: Sprint Eyes Dish Partnership


    Seen some debate on both sides regarding whether Reed Hastings violated disclosure rules with that FB post. Breaking a streaming record could be construed as material, so does posting something on FB qualify as a public disclosure? Should it qualify as such as more investors look for news on social networks? JB

    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 4:00:15 AM
    re: Sprint Eyes Dish Partnership


    My question on how big of a deal was in reference to the item on the  Netflix/Facebook disclosure fiasco, but, yes, a Dish-Sprint hook-up will be a very big deal, if they can get it pulled together, and that Clearwire/LTE connection is an interesting component that we've been covering right along. 


    But Sprint has teamed up with others before, notably the cable guys, and those multiple efforts just didn't pan out, so we'd have to see if Dish could reverse that trend...if such a partnership happens, of course.  JB





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