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A la Carte Coming to Cable's Menu?

Also: Discovery, Huawei develop rugged mobile phone; HBO Go almost a go at TW Cable; ivi seeks handouts for legal defense

Jeff Baumgartner

September 28, 2011

2 Min Read
A la Carte Coming to Cable's Menu?

Welcome to the hump-day edition of the cable news roundup.

  • In what's being viewed as an about-face, U.S. MSOs are developing a plan to force the likes of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA), Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) to unbundle their networks so operators can gain more control over how they price and assemble their subscription TV packages, a move that would inch the industry closer to an à la carte regime, reports Reuters. The concept, which will certainly meet with fierce resistance from programmers, is gaining traction among MSOs as they fret over rising programming costs and continue to see video subs leave in droves in favor of less expensive video options. (See Q2 Video Scorecard: Cable, Satellite Get Creamed .)

  • In a case of unlikely bedfellows, cable programming giant Discovery Communications and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. have co-developed a rugged, GPS-capable, water-resistant and dustproof mobile phone under Discovery's Expedition brand. The phone, which aims to boost Huawei's global presence and cater to outdoor enthusiasts, also comes equipped with a compass. It will become available in the fourth quarter.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will launch HBO Go -- the premium network's TV Everywhere service from MSO corporate cousin Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) -- to its 12.2 million video subs in a matter of weeks, Bloomberg reports. Several other major pay-TV operators, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), already offer it.

  • Virtual MSO wannabe and à la carte proponent ivi Inc. was shut down over copyright concerns and is now appealing to the masses to help it pay down legal fees as it tries to appeal an injunction that was handed down in February. (See Court Cuts Ivi's Web TV Signal and Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver.)

    Here's ivi CEO Todd Weaver's video plea to the cord-cutting crew "to remove the stranglehold the cable TV companies have on you today.":

    Help ivi Stop Your High Cable TV Bill from Todd Weaver on Vimeo.



    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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