Skitter Has 'Virtual' MSO Ambitions

Here's a snapshot of what's pushing cable's buttons this Wednesday morning.

  • Skitter Inc.'s taking a stab at an over-the-top live TV service that apparently comes without the legal angst that's making life difficult for another startup, Aereo Inc. Skitter, reports NewTeeVee, is offering broadband access to TV stations such as NBC, ABC and CBS on broadband-connected Roku Inc. boxes and the Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) WD Live device for between US$12 to $15, and doing so with retransmission consent from the broadcasters, a move that makes it appear to be among the first so-called "virtual" MSOs. Skitter's service is up and running in Portland, Ore., and it tells NewTeeVee it has five more markets on deck. (See Aereo Strikes Back and Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack.)

  • A Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) customer in California is suing the telco over claims that the company convinced her to spend $10 more a month on a DSL tier that promised speeds of 1.5 Mbit/s, but could only deliver 768 Kbit/s because she lived two miles from the central office. She claims Verizon refused to issue a refund. Verizon counters that the "lawsuit is baseless and without merit."

  • Hargray Communications has inked a deal to acquire Charter Communications Inc. 's cable system in Beaufort, S.C., which serves about 7,000 subscribers. The deal is expected to close on June 30.

  • Several personnel changes are afoot at the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) , a group that gives Tier 2/3 MSOs access to bulk pricing on programming and equipment. The co-op has hired Judy Meyka as EVP of programming, and slotted Frank Hughes into the newly created position of SVP of member services. Organization CFO Corey McCarthy will add SVP of business development to his title, and SVP of Legal Affairs Jeff Nourse will also handle regulatory oversight and work closely with the American Cable Association (ACA) . The NCTC noted that it's close to signing deals that will give its cable operator members access to multiple TV Everywhere vendor partners. (See Cable Co-Op Boots Up TV Everywhere Project.)

  • The new, three-year employment package for TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) President and CEO Tom Rogers includes a base salary of $1.15 million and a target annual bonus equal to 100 percent of that annual take, with a potential target for up to 200 percent.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:40 PM
    re: Skitter Has 'Virtual' MSO Ambitions

    We tried to get in touch with Skitter about this  plan this morning  but no dice so far.  In the meantime, the GM of  KPTV, the Fox affiliate in Portland, Ore.; tells Multichannel News that it doesn't have a retrans deal with Skitter, and isn't even sure if it can grant Skitter retrans.  The Portland PBS affiliate tells MCN it hadn't even heard of Skitter, let alone have a retrans deal with it.  

    Ball's in your court, Skitter... what up like that? JB



    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:36:40 PM
    re: Skitter Has 'Virtual' MSO Ambitions

    That acquisition makes sense for lowcountry SC-based Hargray. And Spanish-moss adorned, newly gentrified Beaufort is a pretty catch. Near Savannah (also Hargray served) and some Marine bases, although my memory of the place is tarnished by a rusty nail I stepped on as a lad on one summer vacation.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:39 PM
    re: Skitter Has 'Virtual' MSO Ambitions

    Just got off the horn with Skitter President Bob Saunders... interesting story developing on this, as he says they are in compliance with the carriage rules. More soon. JB

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