Here's a glance at what's turning cable's crank Thursday.
The cable industry is generally in favor of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that would permit MSOs that have gone all-digital to encrypt their basic video tiers, but the American Cable Association (ACA) preached caution Wednesday in urging the Commission (PDF) to take into account the "unique cost burdens" of smaller, independent cable operators. The ACA is particularly concerned about a proposed free set-top box offer that could last one year, or perhaps up to five years, because it would create financial hardships for smaller cable ops that don't have the scale of clustered systems in larger markets. Among its asks, the ACA wants reduced timeframes on free box offers and the okay for Tier 2/3 operators to purchase refurbished boxes with integrated security. The ACA is shooting for relief for operators with 400,000 subs or fewer while stressing that basic tier encryption for all-digital cable systems should be "purely voluntary." (See FCC Lets Cablevision Lock Up Its Basic TV Tier .)
Cold water continues to be hosed on a rumor circulated by Deal Reporter earlier this week that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is eyeing a takeover of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). Bloomberg, citing two people with knowledge of the situation, reports that the companies haven't even held talks about a transaction. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett, meanwhile, labeled the rumored hookup between the two as "ludicrous."