Big, but expected, news on the regulatory front kicks off the T.G.I.F. edition of the cable news roundup.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , as expected, approved its proposal to reform the Universal Service Fund (USF) on Thursday, moving ahead a plan to steer subsidies toward the broader reach of broadband services in rural areas. But National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President Michael Powell said the organization was "disappointed" to learn that the proposal had inserted a right of first refusal element that favors incumbent telcos, giving that group "an unwarranted advantage for broadband support." The proposal includes a Connect America Fund with an annual budget not to exceed $4.5 billion budget for wired broadband subsidies. The FCC claims that about 500,000 jobs will be created over the next six years by expanding broadband access to 7 million more Americans living in rural areas and a five-year transition period for the new competitive process. (See Why USF Reform Matters .)
MobiTV Inc. is pitching MSOs, satellite TV and IPTV service providers with a TV Everywhere package that bakes in its content encoding and ingestion systems along with the integration of more than 375 connected mobile devices. MobiTV said it will leverage its cloud-based video distribution platform for phones to pipe on-demand and live programming to customers who are on the go. The company has yet to announce any customers, but MobiTV believes its approach will speed time to market and reduce costs for service providers with TV Everywhere ambitions.
Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) posted third-quarter earnings of 8 cents per share, beating Wall Street's expected 6 cents, on sales of $138.9 million, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, thanks to strong video processing revenues. Harmonic noted that fourth-quarter revenues could see a $2 million hit due to recent flooding in Thailand, notesJefferies & Company Inc. analyst George Notter. For now, Harmonic is forecasting fourth-quarter revenues of $135 million to $145 million. (See Thailand's Floods Will Affect Optical Sales.)
Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has rapidly morphed from a media darling to whipping boy in just a few weeks, with every little misstep now coming under the microscope. The latest? Bloomberg reports that Netflix eliminated a whopping 15 jobs, mostly in the area of human resources, after losing 800,000 subs in the third quarter. Netflix had 2,180 employees at the end of 2010.