Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?

Good morning, cable gang. Today's industry roundup takes a look at Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s purported talks with LightSquared , and streaming video deals involving Facebook , Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and top Hollywood studios.

  • The cable industry's interest in LightSquared may be running deeper than first suspected. Soon after a rumor surfaced that Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) was interested in running services on the startup's hybrid Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is now being linked to similar discussions with the Harbinger Capital Partners LP -backed firm. Cablevision has already invested in Wi-Fi, but has been looking at devices that switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and is expected to launch a new service called Optimum Mobile later this year. (See Cablevision Trademarks Mobile, RS-DVR Brands, Rumor: TW Cable Talking With LightSquared and LightSquared Gets Satellite-Ready.)

  • Canadian Netflix subscribers will be able to stream Iron Man 2 and hundreds of other Paramount Pictures Corp. movies under a multi-year licensing deal Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA)'s movie studio cut with the over-the-top specialist. (See O, Canada! Netflix Streaming Gets a Reprieve and Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare .)

  • Netflix is also negotiating a deal with Miramax. But Netflix could have some competition, as the independent studio is believed to be shopping for an online distribution deal with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Hulu LLC and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), as well.

  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. expanded its online rental distribution deal with Facebook to involve five more titles, including Inception and two movies from the Harry Potter series. (See Facebook Enters Movie Rental Business.)

  • Sony Pictures may be considering an online distribution deal with Facebook that's similar to the social network's pact with Warner Bros.

  • Here's an example of bill shock taken to the extreme. An Ohio man had his credit card payment to Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) rejected since his credit limit wasn't high enough to cover his $16.4 million cable bill. Officials at Time Warner say "human error" is to blame for the billing mishap. The customer's money quote: "Had I known this I would have bought Showtime."

  • Order Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and get a free handgun or rifle. That's the unique offer one RadioShack store in Montana is offering customers.

  • Time Warner Cable was ordered by a federal judge in Washington to identify several hundred subscribers accused of illegally downloading movies.

  • Digital ad-insertion technology vendor BlackArrow Inc. named former C-COR President and nCUBE CEO Michael Pohl to its board of directors.

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

  • SteveDonohue 12/5/2012 | 5:09:20 PM
    re: Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?

    Cablevision has said that it is looking at how it could launch a mobile phone service for its subscribers, and that it was studying the possibility of using a hybrid of WiFi and cellular networks to handle the calls. LightSquared could be a key part of Cablevision's phone strategy. 


    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:09:20 PM
    re: Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?

    TWC and CVC apparently just scratch the surface on the discussions. FT has this piece quoting LightSquared top exec Sanjiv Ahuja as saying "There are 60-plus discussions, and 15 of those are at a stage where we are negotiating contracts with our customers."   Any odds on whether any of the cable guys are in that group of 15 that are already negotiating contracts w/LightSquared? Have to guess they are better than 2-to-1.  JB

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:09:19 PM
    re: Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?

    It would be interesting, and align another MSO with LTE.  Cox is alreading making plans to migrate that way.  If TWC joins in, the question is what happens to the Clearwire partnership?  Would LightSquared be an in-addition-to sort of deal , particularly if Clearwire ends up going in the direction of LTE too?  Or would this be a case of TWC (and maybe other Clearwire partners) hedging their bets? JB

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:09:18 PM
    re: Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?


    You know I always say that BD guys should write the breakup clauses of partnerships first.  Partnerships only work if both sides have their interests aligned.  When they don't then the partnerships break.  Things change and all business partnerships are temporary.  If I want a chunk of wireless and Clearwire is not delivering, I will go somewhere else.  The cost of the partnership is a sunk cost.  If you think its not helping, then throwing good money after bad is not a solution.




    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:09:14 PM
    re: Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires?

    Well said. Might be worth some digging to find out more about cable's obligations on the Clearwire deal and what sort of penalties they'd be on the hook for if they ever decided to pull out or take on an additional partner... above and beyond the $$$ they've already put in , of course.  JB


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