Video services

Privacy Law Blocks Netflix-Facebook Connection

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is integrating its streaming service with Facebook in 44 countries, but not yet in the U.S. due to an 1988 video rental privacy law that prohibits the automatic disclosure of video sales or rental records. However, Netflix said legislation recently introduced by Congress eventually could give U.S. Netflix subs the choice to share that info with Facebook members.

  • The Federal Register is expected to publish the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's network neutrality order Friday (Sept. 23), giving Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) the green light to push ahead with lawsuits alleging that the federal agency overstepped its authority. (See Verizon Fights Net Neutrality Order, MetroPCS Joins Fight Against Net Neutrality Rules and The FCC Strikes Back.)

  • VUDU Inc. will expand its library of TV and movies to more than 10,500 titles by the end of October after adding fare from several cable networks, including Bravo, Comedy Central, MTV, Showtime and Starz, that can be bought for $1.99 to $2.99 per episode. Some service providers view Vudu as an over-the-top option for video-on-demand (VoD). (See Entone Crafting VUDU-Powered Cable Boxes and Entone Gets CableCARD Clearance.)

  • Cord-cutting "hasn't arrived yet," Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) CEO and TV Everywhere champion Jeff Bewkes insisted at a Goldman Sachs & Co. conference, attributing eroding pay-TV subscription rates to the crummy economy. He added that he would happily license content from HBO and other Time Warner properties to Netflix for the right price. (See Q2 Video Scorecard: Cable, Satellite Get Creamed .)

  • Netflix has no immediate plans to toy with its subscription streaming service by renting newer movie titles as one-offs, but CFO David Wells said it's an option the company might consider if it kept customers from getting that content from other sources. Netflix obviously has bigger issues to contend with right now, but such a move would put the company in more direct competition with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes and pay-TV VoD services. (See Netflix Does the Splits .)

  • Johnathan Rodgers, the former CEO of TV One and head of Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), has joined the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) board of directors, replacing Decker Anstrom, who previously helmed The Weather Channel and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) .

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:52:49 PM
    re: Privacy Law Blocks Netflix-Facebook Connection

    Yeah, that's the side of him that's paying homage to the revenue stream that comes in from the MSOs that pay him by the sub.  I get what SA is saying, in that the economic profile of the cord-cutter needs a reality check, but, you're right, how one defines arrived might be different than how Bewkes defines it, since he'd want to downplay that. JB


    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 4:52:49 PM
    re: Privacy Law Blocks Netflix-Facebook Connection

    OK. It depends upon how you define "arrived." Just trying to square Jeff Bewkes' comment that cord cutters have not yet arrived with the Strategy Analytics report that you flagged yesterday claiming that 40 percent of cord cutters (whom I guess have arrived) would pay more for more control of content. The question if not for Bewkes than for the operators (including satellite) themselves is how traditional churners may differ from this new breed of cutters -- a useful distinction that the SA report apparently makes.

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