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Netflix Plays Friendly With Cable

Word that Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) sees itself as a friend to cable in the long term kicks off today's cable news roundup.

  • Netflix is aiming to be a complement, rather than a competitor, to the cable industry. CEO Reed Hastings told a Morgan Stanley investor conference this week that, as MSOs expand their Internet VoD capabilities, he sees Netflix becoming a component of cable's offerings, as well as an ally that can keep other premium programmers in check. It's an idea that's crossed cable's mind, too. Last fall, Tom Rutledge, while COO at Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), said he'd "love to sell Netflix as a service on my cable system." (See Cablevision Would Love to Sell Some Netflix .)

  • Netflix's partnership with Starz Entertainment LLC ended Wednesday, meaning it's lost access to an important library of movies in the premium release window and a live stream of the flagship Starz linear channel. Netflix didn't want to put Starz in a higher-priced tier, which would have cost it upward of $300 million. The company has since started to bridge the gap by making other content deals and investments in original programming. (See Netflix, Starz on the Outs and Did Starz Reject $300M Netflix Offer?)

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has closed its $3 billion acquisition of Insight Communications Co. Inc. from The Carlyle Group LLC Wednesday, a deal that gives the MSO systems serving more than 760,000 customers in Evansville, Ind.; Louisville, Covington, Lexington and Bowling Green, Ky.; and Columbus, Ohio. (See Time Warner Cable Splashes Out $3B for Insight .)

  • Insight CEO Michael Willner writes on his blog that a "handful of senior managers, including me, will depart immediately." Willner notes that he'll keep the site going as his personal blog and that he "will continue to be involved in the cable/broadband world. I'm just not sure where or when."

  • Canadian MSO Cogeco Communications (Toronto: CCA)'s European adventure is over after it sold Cabovisão S.A. , its Portuguese subsidiary, to the European Altice Group for €45 million (US$59.83 million).

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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