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Dish Bids for Blockbuster

This week's cable news roundup leads off with word that Charlie Ergen's Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) has joined the bidding for troubled Blockbuster Inc.

  • Dish Network has emerged as a qualified bidder to acquire bankrupt movie rental chain Blockbuster. While Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen may see potential in using Blockbuster's brand to drive digital programming distribution, he'll have to outbid Carl Icahn and other suitors. Blockbuster, by the way, also has some old ties to cable. (See Can Cable Save Blockbuster's Bacon? , Comcast Enters the DVD-by-Mail Game and Blockbuster Busts Out Cable Deals .)

  • Insight Communications Co. Inc. hasn't launched an iPad app yet, but it's keeping tabs on the spat between Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and some major programmers. In this blog post, Insight CEO Michael Willner unsurprisingly sides with TWC's positioning, wondering if using the iPad as a viewing device is any different from an additional TV outlet. "It seems that the programming networks simply are trying to define another revenue opportunity to get consumers to pay for rights they already appear to have," he wrote. (See Fox to TW Cable: Stop Streaming Our Stuff .)

  • Dr. John Malone may try to expand his European cable empire again amid word that Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) is considering a bid for Ziggo B.V. before the Dutch cable MSO moves ahead on an IPO, reports the Financial Times. A buy of Ziggo, which has about 3 million subs, would complement Liberty's existing position in Holland through its UPC Broadband unit. (See Liberty Global Scoops Up KBW for $4.5B.)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) said it'll launch 10 independent networks in the next eight years, beginning in July with American Latino, which will be programmed in English. The MSO, which promised to expand independent programming to win approval for merger with NBCUniversal LLC , said it'll also launch two networks owned by African Americans by the end of January 2013. (See Comcast, NBCU Seal the Deal .)

  • New NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke earned $34.74 million in total compensation last year, taking home more than Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, whose compensation package totaled $31.05 million. [Ed. note: But what's a few million between friends?] (See Burke to Become CEO Of NBCU.)

  • Some independent studios are wary of cutting deals to stream their movies through Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), complaining that the most an indie has earned from streaming revenue through Netflix is $20,000. (See Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare .)

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is generating decent coverage for its decision to "open the fire hose" with its app for the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, treating the tablets like set-tops and delivering every network it carries from local headends to the devices. (See Cablevision Launches iPad App With 280+ Channels .)

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) flipped the switch on FiOS TV in Albany, N.Y., taking on Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in the state capital. (See TW Cable Snips 'Fiber' Ads .)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable, and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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