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Netflix Amps Its Political Power

Here's a glance at what's turning cable's crank this morning.

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is shoring up its political defenses in Washington, D.C., as the video streaming and DVD rental giant attempts to fend off the threat of broadband caps and metering policies, and tries to push new privacy laws that would let it integrate with Facebook . As part of its regulatory beef-up, the company has been hiring Beltway heavy-hitters and has spent $190,000 on lobbying so far this year, according to Politico. "The service's popularity among young congressional aides helped it get meetings all over Capitol Hill," but recent decisions by Netflix to jack up fees and split off its DVD business have caused "affections for the company" to cool, the report notes. (See Netflix Kills Qwikster, Privacy Law Blocks Netflix-Facebook Connection , Netflix Does the Splits and Netflix Fears by-the-Byte Tiers .)

  • HBO Go, the premium channels' authenticated TV Everywhere service, will launch in Latin America and Asia following its launch in Central Europe, HBO CTO Bob Zitter said at this week's Content & Communications World conference in New York. HBO Go currently has 40 million U.S. subs, and another 40 million across the globe, says Multichannel News.

  • Forty-four percent of U.S. homes have at least one DVR, and about one-third have more than one, Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) found in a new annual study. Just 8 percent of U.S. cable homes had a DVR in 2005. Among other findings, 73 percent of all digital cable subs have ever used video-on-demand (VoD), with 87 percent of that lot having watched an on-demand program in the past month. Despite those increases, 90 percent of all TV viewing in the U.S. is still via live TV, LRG adds.

  • Suddenlink Communications has launched the broadband-connected TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) Premiere DVR in six more markets: El Dorado, Mountain Home and Magnolia, Ark.; Branson and Nixa, Mo.; and Natchitoches, La. Suddenlink first introduced TiVo in Lubbock and Midland, Texas, in December 2010. (See TiVo Makes its Suddenlink Debut and Suddenlink Blames Netflix Contracts .)

  • David Kelly, a cable vet late of A&E Networks, is the latest to join the executive ranks of Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced ad J.V. Kelly's on board as VP of affiliate relations, where he'll serve as a key liaison among Canoe, its MSO masters and Canoe's distributing affiliates.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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