Video services

Joost Returns!

Happy Friday, cable guys and gals. In today's roundup of cable news and views, Joost jumps back in the Web TV saddle, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) finds the DC courts appealing, and Al Franken claims cable thinks a good Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is a dead Netflix.

  • Joost is getting another shot at Web TV greatness. Adconion Media Group is spinning the Web-fed service into a standalone business focused on "premium" video more than a year after it purchased the assets. (See Joost Relaunches, Joost Sells Off Scraps, Adconion Buys Joost Assets and How Joost Failed.)

    And the new plan sounds pretty grand. The relaunched Joost will create "the world's largest video platform effective immediately," Adconion boasted, noting that the resulting service will feature in-stream and in-banner video advertising.

  • GigaOm's Stacy Higginbotham points out that not only will the same court hear Verizon's appeal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's network neutrality rules, but that the telco has hired the same lawyer -- Helgi Walker of Wiley Rein LLP -- that represented Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) in its earlier appeal against the Commission. (See Verizon Fights Net Neutrality Order and Net Neutrality Ruling: FCC Loses, Comcast Wins.)

    Those facts weren't lost on net neutrality advocates, with the Media Access Project 's Andrew Schwartzman arguing that "Verizon has made a blatant attempt to locate its challenge in a favorable appeals court forum." (See MAP: Verizon Appeal Uses 'Bizarre Legal Theory'.)

  • Sen. Al Franken (D.-Minn.) thinks Comcast and the whole cable industry has it in for Netflix. Franken, who has been vehemently opposed to the Comcast-NBC Universal deal, told a Netroots Nation conference that "I'm hearing that Comcast is already preparing to pull NBC Universal's programming from Netflix when it's next up for review." (See Comcast-NBCU Rules to Frustrate OTT Players.)

    Franken, who made the comments Tuesday, and just before the feds stamped the deal, claimed Netflix "represents the first real competition they [cable] have seen in a long time. They're not stupid; they want to shut it down."

  • Speaking of Netflix's future, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s buyout of LoveFilm gives Amazon "a few years head start" over Netflix in Europe, Jefferies & Co. Inc. Managing Director Youssef Squali said in a research note. Like Netflix, LoveFilm offers a large DVD library (over 70,000 titles) and a smaller number (2,000 to 5,000) of streaming titles.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s Docsis 3.0 rollout continues to percolate following this week's launch of a 50Mbit/s (downstream) tier in the Raleigh, N.C., area.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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