The Bauminator Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading 8/11/2009
1:40 PM -- Staying in tune with some recent cable news...
- RCN speeding up in NYC: RCN Corp. officials told Cable Digital News last week that the competitive overbuilder is getting closer to its first launch of Docsis 3.0, with New York City being the first in line as it matches up against Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC). (See Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service.) RCN CFO and EVP Mike Sicoli said the operator will likely begin marketing wideband services there in late September or early October, and then start to introduce them to the operator's other markets in subsequent quarters.
- Better in bankruptcy? Charter Communications Inc. may be in the process of a debt-chopping, bankruptcy reorg, but second-quarter financials continue to show that operations are improving under the people who are steering the ship these days. (See Charter Charts Q2, Charter Bankruptcy Update , and Charter Turns to Chapter 11.)
- Mike Pohl sighting: Mike Pohl, the former chief of VoD pioneer nCUBE Corp. (later sold to C-COR, and now part of Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)), has taken the helm of Jinni Media Ltd. , maker of a "semantic" search-and-recommendation engine that, the company claims, indexes video titles based on viewer moods. At least he's quoted as such in a press release today announcing that the startup has sealed a deal to have its engine grace OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV)'s Core2 middleware by the fourth quarter. (See OpenTV, Jinni Team on Search.) As for Jinni's mood-detecting tech, don't worry, it doesn't sound as if they're wiring anything into the brains of the TV viewing public. Instead, viewers can plug in what they feel like watching (something funny, dark, or suspenseful, for example) and the system will churn out some targeted results.
- DirecTV's star search: DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV)'s getting serious about finding a new, full-time leader. According to an SEC filing, the company board has ratified the creation of a special committee that will be tasked with finding a new president and CEO… something important it's been missing ever since Chase Carey left to become COO of News Corp. (NYSE: NWS). (See DirecTV Seeks CEO .) The rumor mill recently spit out that DirecTV may try to keep it in the family, with Liberty Media Corp. (NYSE: LMC) CEO Greg Maffei viewed as the frontrunner. By the way, Liberty chief John Malone, along with two others on the DirecTV CEO search committee, will each get one-time $50,000 fees for their troubles. (See Maffei to DirecTV?)
- Joining the band: Another cable vet is back in the biz. Sean Rooney (late of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Broadbus Technologies) is the new SVP of worldwide sales at BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND). (See BigBand Names Sales Chief.)
- Picking up Pangrac: Pulse Broadband sealed up its acquisition of Pangrac Consulting for undisclosed terms, and, along with it, it's getting two cable engineering pioneers: Dave Pangrac and Don Gall. The consulting arm of Pangrac is a telecom engineering and design firm but has lately been recognized for helping cable develop fiber-to-the-home architectures for greenfields and business service opportunities. (See Pulse Picks Up Pangrac.) These days, some of that resulting work is now under the RF-over-Glass (RFoG) umbrella, with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) currently heading up the standards effort. (See Fog Lifting on RFOG.)