Cable News: Dec. 15

In today's roundup of cable doings, Wall Street's got the hots for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s making some big changes up top, speculation swirls about an over-the-top play for the lucrative NFL Sunday Ticket package, and a small operator fires up a speedy Docsis 3.0 service.

  • Even though Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffet thinks NBC Universal will be less valuable to Comcast after the feds slap conditions on the proposed merger, his move to upgrade Comcast saw its stock hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $22.40 per share. Moffet, who thinks Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of the deal is imminent, upgraded Comcast to a "Buy" rating, and raised his price target on the stock to $26. (See ACA: No Stopping Comcast-NBC Merger.)

  • TW Cable's announcement Tuesday that COO Landel Hobbs was leaving the company was a bit surprising considering the No. 2 US MSO trotted Hobbs out last week for an appearance on CNBC’s "Sqwawk Box," during which he talked up the idea of consumption based billing for cable modem services. Hobbs was replaced by Robert Marcus, a veteran Time Warner attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions, who was named president and COO. (See Marcus Up, Hobbs Out at TW Cable.)

  • Is USA Network building an Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) app that will allow Psych viewers to interact with the show? While Mashable takes a look at the "second screen" app USA has built for the iPhone and iPad, there's no word on when "Psych Vision" will hit cable interactive TV platforms.

  • Got a kick out of this Engadget item speculating that DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) may take a shot at distributing NFL Sunday Ticket on specialized broadband-fed devices from the likes of Roku Inc. and Boxee , considering many of the so-called "cord-cutters" that use OTT services would likely balk at paying $250 per season to watch football on TV. Speculation about a possible, new digital distribution for the football package is based on a survey DirecTV sent to some subscribers. (See Boxee Launches Cord-Cutting Box and TiVo, Roku Hook Up Hulu Plus .)

  • In order to reach a settlement over allegations of unfair advertising practices, DirecTV agreed to pay 50 states a total of $14.25 million, in addition to restitution for consumers. The top satellite-TV provider, which was accused of failing to clearly disclose prices, agreed to replace leased equipment that is defective at no cost and to notify consumers at least 10 days in advance before hitting them with cancellation or equipment fees, along with several other terms.

  • Counting less than 20,000 subscribers, Conway, Ark.-based Conway Corp. is showing that D3 isn't only for major MSOs. The company's new wideband "Turbo" tier offers speeds up to 50 Mbit/s. (See Conway Launches D3 Package.)

  • Lots of buzz this morning about Time naming 26-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year for "connecting half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them." Among the finalists Zuckerberg edged out were the Chilean miners and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

  • DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:15:52 PM
    re: Cable News: Dec. 15

    That's not as big of a deal as it used to be. I mean, who HASN'T won that in the past few years?



    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:15:50 PM
    re: Cable News: Dec. 15

    At least you were a good and drafted something.  I must've been busy the day I received the news. JB

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