Can cable loosen DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV)'s exclusive hold on Sunday Ticket, the satellite TV giant's popular package of out-of-market NFL games? Current antitrust laws coupled with fresh consumer complaints could help MSOs and other pay-TV service providers break up that deal and the NFL's "residual rights" to games that are broadcast on "sponsored telecasts," according to this article (PDF) by Ariel Y. Bublick, a Juris Doctor Candidate at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. "It would behoove the NFL to voluntarily terminate the exclusive contract for publicity purposes, instead of being forced by Congress or a lawsuit," Bublick concludes. The current DirecTV/NFL deal runs through the 2014 season. (See Cable: DirecTV's 'Ticket' to Broadband Content.)
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) workers in Brooklyn voted in favor of unionizing and joining the Communications Workers of America Local 1109, claiming the move will bring wages and benefits in line with those from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). The vote may spur cable installers and technicians to consider the same move in other parts of the country. The Communications Workers estimate that fewer than 4 percent of cable workers in the U.S. belong to unions. Cablevision, which was against the move, told The New York Times: "In the worst economy in memory, Cablevision has not laid off a single technician."
TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) is rolling its new hi-def user interface and multi-room streaming capabilities to all flavors of the company's Premiere DVRs sold at retail with the availability of the company's 20.2 platform. The upgrade also includes a new mini-guide/overlay that lists three channels at a time, and software that aims to enhance the speed of applications running on the devices, notes Digital Trends.