Amazon Fires Shot at Netflix's Bow

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s challenge to Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)'s dominance in the streaming video business leads today's cable news roundup.

  • Netflix stock took a hit today after Amazon began offering 5,000 commercial-free streaming videos to Amazon Prime customers who pay it $79 annually for free shipping. But, given the lack of fresh titles at the start, not everyone views Amazon's new strategy as much of a near-term threat to Netflix's baseline service. (See Amazon May Target Netflix With Streaming Tilt.)

  • Rhode Island cable operator Full Channel TV said adios to Univision after it demanded a 33 percent hike in retransmission-consent fees.

  • The devil may be in the details when it comes to the "voluntary" auctions being proposed for spectrum owned by broadcasters. Broadcast Engineering, citing a line item in President Obama's 2012 budget, notes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may be authorized to hit broadcasters with fees for "unauctioned spectrum licenses" starting in 2011 and totaling $4.8 billion through 2021. (See FCC Proposes 300MHz More Spectrum by 2015.)

  • 3-D standards are slowly emerging across the pond, as the Digital Video Broadcasting association approved a new specification that is now on the way to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for standardization. (See Cable-Tec Expo: Lack of Standards Hinders 3DTV.)

  • Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) Flash may soon be available on the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) Xoom and other mobile phones running Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android platform. (See Adobe Flashes 84M Mobile Devices.)

  • When it comes to watching online video ads, Web surfers are more likely to stick with a mid-roll ad than they are a pre-roll spot.

  • Convergys Corp. (NYSE: CVG), a billing and customer care firm that counts several MSOs as customers, could be a takeover target, with Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) among the potential suitors. (See Cox Reups With Convergys.)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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