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Also: Icahn chides Netflix's 'poison pill' defense; HBO's wishy-washy broadband stance; TW Cable automates Sandy-related customer credits

Verizon Wireless & Bright House Start Bundling

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/9/2012
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Welcome to the broadband/cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Metropolitan Orlando is the first market to introduce cable/mobile service bundles from Verizon Wireless and Bright House Networks . To help prime the pump, they are pitching pre-paid debit cards valued at up to $200 to new, qualified customers. Bright House and Verizon Wireless say they plan to offer the new bundles to other Bright House markets "in the coming months." Bright House serves more than 2.5 million customers in central Florida and parts of Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California. Verizon Wireless's other cable partners -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -- have already deployed service bundles in several markets. Beyond the joint marketing deals, Bright House and the other MSO partners have also sold their Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to Verizon Wireless for a combined $4 billion. (See Verizon Wireless & Cable Keep Rolling, VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M and MSOs Sell AWS Spectrum to Verizon for $3.6B .)

  • The relationship between Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and its newest significant investor, Carl Icahn, is getting frostier by the minute. Icahn on Thursday told CNBC that he found Netflix's decision to adopt a "poison pill" defense "really reprehensible." Netflix erected it soon after Icahn snapped up an almost 10 percent stake in Netflix because he thinks the streaming video giant is overvalued. While Icahn insists that there's no firm strategy in place regarding Netflix's future, he has acknowledged that a sale is one of the ideas he's been mulling. (See Netflix Erects Icahn Defense, Icahn: Netflix Sale Has 'Crossed Our Minds' and Icahn Nabs 10% of Netflix .)

  • A broadband-only version of HBO "isn't all that ready for prime time," Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes said on the company's third-quarter earnings call this week. Of course, "ready for prime time" in this sense depends on where you are. It doesn't make business sense yet for HBO to branch off on its own and mess up its lucrative carriage relationships with North American pay-TV providers. But the situation is apparently quite different in northern Europe, where the HBO Nordic joint venture is introducing an over-the-top subscription video streaming service that competes with Netflix, while also trying to secure deals with the region's traditional pay-TV providers. (See HBO, Netflix Set for OTT Video Clash .)

  • TW Cable is joining other service operators in giving credits to customers who lost service due to Superstorm Sandy. The MSO said it will issue service credits automatically to residential and commercial customers in the greater New York City area. For customers who are still without power, TW Cable will issue additional credits every three days until the outages end. (See Operators Slog Ahead in New York & New Jersey.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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