Video services

Comcast Ad Arm Could Face Class Action

Here's a glance at what's pushing cable's buttons today.

  • BThrifty LLC, a firm that developed cable TV commercials and marketing campaigns for small, local businesses, is pinning part of its demise on Comcast Spotlight . BThrifty, which has apparently closed up shop, is seeking a class-action lawsuit against Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and its local ad arm over claims that they oversold advertisers on their ability to insert spots onto "40 insertable networks" from 2002 until at least 2009 that would enable their commercials to run in all regions simultaneously. BThrifty claims that its own internal audit found that some of those cable channels did not allow for insertion. "We believe that there may be several thousand advertisers that were charged for commercials that did not run in all regions," BThrifty said, claiming that the resulting, alleged overcharges "could amount to many millions of dollars." Comcast was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

  • Hulu LLC joined Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) in the race among over-the-top video providers to add and retain subs with original content with the premiere of the scripted comedy series Battleground. Hulu is releasing new episodes every Tuesday via the subscription-based Hulu Plus service as well as the ad-supported free version at Hulu.com. Netflix is taking a different approach with its first original series, Lilyhammer. Rather than parsing out a new episode each week, Netflix is trying to get viewers hooked by offering all eight episodes of the first season right away.

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Starz Entertainment LLC have inked a multi-year carriage deal for the premium programmer's HD, on-demand and authenticated "TV Everywhere" online services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

  • Great Lakes Data Systems Inc. has obtained a hunting license to pitch its billing, subscriber management and provisioning products to members of the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) , a purchasing co-operative that represents independent cable operators. GLDS targets its wares to operators with 2,500 subs to more than 250,000 subs.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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