Starz Preps for Post-Netflix Era

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Its deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) set to expire in March 2012, Starz Entertainment LLC is preparing to launch an authenticated TV Everywhere service in the vein of HBO Go, Starz President Chris Albrecht told investors Thursday. Starz balked at a US$300 million renewal with Netflix when the streaming specialist would not go for a more expensive tier that included the premium programmer's content. "We would have eroded … our core business" without that provision, Albrecht said, noting that the company is considering the idea of offering its service as an add-on to broadband users that don't subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service. (See Netflix, Starz on the Outs .)

  • Motorola Mobility LLC shareholders overwhelmingly approved Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s $12.5 billion acquisition of the mobile handset, set-top box and broadband gear maker. About 99 percent of the shares voting approved of the merger and represented 74 percent of Moto Mobility's total outstanding shares of common stock as of Oct. 11, 2011. (See Cover Sheet: Google to Acquire Moto Mobility.)

  • As was evident at a busy SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011 show floor all this week, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) said attendance at the annual confab jumped 24 percent as more than 10,000 made the trip to Atlanta. International attendance rose 21 percent, and more than 400 vendors graced the floor, up 8 percent from last year. The 2012 gathering is set for Oct. 17-19 in Orlando, Fla.

  • U.S. cable MSOs dominated broadband in the third quarter, representing 83 percent of the 635,000 net broadband subscribers added in the period, according to Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) 's analysis of the top 18 cable operators and telcos. Cable's year-on-year additions were flat (98 percent), while the telcos added just 38 percent of the total from the third quarter of 2010. Overall, top MSOs ended the period with 43.6 million broadband subs, while the telcos had 34.2 million.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) President of Cable Communications John Bickham is resigning later this month, reports Multichannel News. Bickham, late of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), joined Cablevision in 2004.

  • Roku Inc. will take its act to the international stage in early 2012 when it starts selling its streaming video devices in the U.K. and Canada. Roku, which recently added HBO Go to its menu, said it is expanding its platform to support region-specific channels. Its U.S. lineup has more than 350 channels of content.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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