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Cable Catchup

5:40 PM -- Here's a brief roundup of other cable items of interest that have been making the rounds recently...

  • Now you see it, now you don't: The national debut of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s On Demand Online, TV Everywhere-esque product for TV subs (since rebranded as "Xfinity") is getting realclose. And the Zatz Not Funny blog even came across a live Web page touting the new logo and a slate of programming partners late last week, with word that the MSO did indeed try to get it off the ground last week. But there's nothing doing... yet. (See Comcast Web TV Trial: 10,000 Being Served .)

    However, that live page with the Xfinity brand has since been replaced with this less interesting page about the ongoing beta test. And Zatz also got word directly from Comcast that the Fancast Store is going bye-bye. (See Fancast Does Downloads.)

  • Suit resurrects NebuAd fun: NebuAD may be dead and buried, but the litigious nature of its subscriber-tracking technology for Internet ads lives on. According to Courtroom News, WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) is the only named defendant of a class action suit filed in Chicago claiming the overbuilder gave NebuAd "virtually unlimited access to the personal information of at least 330,000 people."

    WOW, along with a handful of other MSOs, including Bresnan Communications LLC , Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL), and CableOne , steered clear of similar trouble when a California court dismissed a similar suit.

  • Charter's big on backhaul: Delivering business services is one key to Charter Communications Inc. 's revenue growth plan post-Chapter 11, but, on a more specific note, MSO CEO Neil Smit told a UBS AG investor conference last week that there's much gold to be mined from the cellular backhaul opportunities. (See Post Chapter 11, Charter Banks on Biz Services.)

    He said Charter already serves about 400 cell towers in its territories, and there are nearly 500 more that it's already won contract for and is in the process of firing up. As for the broader commercial services picture, he says there's about $5.5 billion in "addressable spend" within 600 feet of Charter's network. These days, the MSO's primary target is businesses with between two and 12 lines.

  • Britt warns on Comcast-NBC marriage: Comcast and NBC Universal want to exchange vows posthaste on a deal they believe to be flush with synergies, but Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt had a message for them last week at the UBS conference: Good luck with all that. Combining the pipe with content may not be all what they think it's cracked up to be. (See Time Warner Cable Leaving the Nest and Comcast to Take Control of NBC Universal.)

    "There aren't a lot of operating synergies," said Britt, who heads up an MSO that recently just split off from the more content-centric Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), which owns HBO and CNN among its media properties. On that note, Britt said TWC and divisions like Warner Bros. would try to connect mostly to "minimize business risk... not to launch daring initiatives." So, "you never lose, but you [also] can never win."

    But, in Comcast's case, it should end up being the butt of many more jokes from Conan O'Brien, so let's not squash all this synergy talk just yet, shall we? (See Comcast O'Brien.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

  • tinidepp 12/5/2012 | 3:50:57 PM
    re: Cable Catchup

    Cable varies from area to area. Dish Network customer service is the worst and there prices yo-yo. Direct TV seems to be the nost solid company out there. Also you can order shows on itunes.com and watch 99cents per episode


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