Apple Eyes Epix Streaming Deal
Here's what's pushing cable's buttons Monday morning.
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is reportedly in talks to secure streaming rights for Epix, a move that would expand the amount of premium video content for the standalone Apple TV device and Apple's rumored big screen TV. Reuters described the talks as "preliminary," noting that a deal could be complicated by Epix's current deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), which is set to lapse later this year. Under that deal, Netflix can't stream Epix movies until 90 days after they debut on its flagship, linear cable channel. Epix is a joint venture of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: LGF), Paramount Pictures Corp. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (See Netflix-EPIX Deal Puts Pressure on Cable and Who Will Land the Apple Television? )
The top nine U.S. incumbent MSOs have deployed more than 615,000 CableCARDs for use in retail devices such as TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) boxes, versus about 34 million CableCARDs in operator-supplied cable set-top boxes, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . Just 61,000 CableCARDs for retail units versus 2 million CableCARDs for leased set-tops have been deployed by those MSOs since the NCTA's last report on Jan. 30.
Hulu LLC is working on a new, authentication model under which "free," ad-supported content could only be accessed by consumers who can prove that they also subscribe to cable or another pay-TV provider, The New York Post reports. Hulu, partly owned by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s NBCUniversal LLC , also offers an $8-per month subscription service that's attracted about 2 million customers.
Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced ad joint venture, will shut down its New York City office on May 23, marking the last day of work for about 120 employees who aren't staying on as Canoe adjusts its focus, reports Multichannel News. Canoe is abandoning its plan to offer a national interactive advertising platform in favor of a new one centered on video-on-demand (VoD) advertising. Thirty to 35 employees will be staying with the J.V., which will shift operations to the Comcast Media Center (CMC) in Centennial, Colo. (See Cable's Canoe Sinks Interactive Ad Business .)
Patrick Knorr, the former GM of Sunflower Broadband, joined TV Everywhere specialist Synacor Inc. as GM, regional accounts in April, according to his updated LinkedIn profile. Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL), soon to become part of WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) , bought Lawrence, Kan.-based Sunflower in 2010. (See Knology Plucks Sunflower and Whoa! WOW Buys Knology for $1.5B .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable