FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

The Federal Communications Commission has approved Altice NV’s proposed $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp. As part of the deal, the European telecom group would assume Cablevision debt and invest to upgrade the company’s broadband. According to the FCC, Altice has a record of improving services after investing in broadband companies in Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg and Portugal. In December, the FCC approved Altice’s $9.1 billion purchase of Missouri-based cable company Suddenlink Communications. Continue reading FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

Netflix continues to invest heavily in its original programming as the company competes with pay TV and rival streaming services. The company has also reduced its U.S. library as licensing costs climb, while adding to its international offerings in markets such as Canada and Great Britain. To get a sense of the brand’s perception in an evolving digital landscape, AllFlicks surveyed 3,000 visitors to its own site and Reddit to learn how the company is faring as compared to pay TV and other entertainment businesses. With this select group, 75.5 percent believe Netflix could replace traditional TV. Continue reading Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Hulu is the latest platform to compete with traditional pay TV services. Separate from its current on-demand programming model, Hulu plans to launch a cable TV-style online service in Q1 2017, say those familiar with the company’s plans. Hulu co-owners 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are likely to strike agreements to license many of their channels. ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, the Fox network, Fox News, FX and Fox national and regional sports channels are also anticipated to be part of the lineup. Continue reading Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Comcast to Introduce 1,000-GB Data Limits in Select Markets

In the wake of customer backlash over limits and surcharges, by June 1, Comcast will unveil a 1,000-gigabyte cap for broadband customers in markets previously limited to 300-gigabytes monthly. In 2012, the company stopped enforcing a universal 250-gigabyte limit, and since then has been testing different Internet plans in mainly Southern states, reaching 14 percent of its homes or 2.8 million customers. Comcast has stated that 10 percent, or more than 2 million people, use 300 gigabytes or more a month. Continue reading Comcast to Introduce 1,000-GB Data Limits in Select Markets

Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The rumors are true. Comcast announced yesterday that it would acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. The move reflects a significant change in entertainment media as companies seek new ways to address the impact of evolving trends such as streaming video and cord-cutting. Since animation performs well in foreign markets and helps drive consumer product sales, DreamWorks could serve as a vital resource for NBCUniversal. The animation studio could also become a launch pad for the Universal theme parks unit, which is currently planning a new park in Beijing. Continue reading Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Rovi Corporation has agreed to purchase TiVo Inc. for $1.1 billion, in a deal that merges two TV tech patent holders as companies including Apple, Comcast and Google are looking to control the set-top box. The FCC is proposing to allow customers who rent STBs from cable companies to “buy their own boxes or alternatives, which would open up what is now a largely closed market,” reports Bloomberg. “This deal was driven by an increasingly competitive set-top box market,” said analyst Paul Sweeney of Bloomberg Intelligence. “Cable operators such as Comcast are investing serious capital to develop next-generation boxes that are threatening the TiVo and Rovi platforms.” Continue reading Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Comcast is Reportedly in Early Discussions to Purchase DWA

Reports have surfaced that Comcast is in talks to purchase DreamWorks Animation SKG for more than $3 billion. The unconfirmed deal would make the cable giant a major player in the family entertainment business, and possibly provide additional leverage for building out theme park and consumer product businesses. According to The Wall Street Journal, “One person with knowledge of the talks said that DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment, Universal’s animation studio, would remain separate brands.” However, a deal could provide Universal with a greater presence in China, where DreamWorks chief exec Jeffrey Katzenberg has focused much of his attention. Continue reading Comcast is Reportedly in Early Discussions to Purchase DWA

Media Giants Join Forces Against FCC Opening Set-Top Box

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to begin to allow third-party companies to develop devices and apps to carry pay TV signals, thus loosening the grip of the set-top box manufacturing market and the pay TV companies that lease them. But now Disney, CBS, 21st Century Fox, A&E Television Networks, Time Warner, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom have banded together to oppose the move, in comments filed with the FCC. The founder of Roku has come out against the idea as misguided and unnecessary. Continue reading Media Giants Join Forces Against FCC Opening Set-Top Box

Mike Nichols, Played Key Role in TV and Online Development

Digital creative pioneer Mike Nichols, a leader in the transition of television to digital, died suddenly on Friday, April 15 of complications from a health issue. He was 57. It is with great sorrow that we share the sad news of Mike’s passing. The former Disney exec had been a great friend to the ETC over the years and was a creative force behind the development and deployment of ETCentric. We will miss our generous friend and talented colleague. Our thoughts are with the Nichols family and the many industry members Mike worked with over the years. For more on Mike’s impressive contributions to entertainment media, read our full post on ETCentric. Continue reading Mike Nichols, Played Key Role in TV and Online Development

Layer3 Aims to Improve Cable Model, Leases its IP Network

Although cable companies lost more than a million subscribers last year and Internet viewing is booming, Layer3 chief executive Jeff Binder thinks the future isn’t about cutting the cord to cable, but making it better, with improved pictures, design and customer service. That, he hopes, will win over customers struggling to find content online and on cable. Layer3 will debut in Chicago and a few unnamed major cities on the East and West Coasts, at $80 to $150 a month, depending on the number of TVs in a home. Continue reading Layer3 Aims to Improve Cable Model, Leases its IP Network

Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

Starting next month, Netflix will increase the price of its two-stream HD service plan by 25 percent for long-term streaming customers. Subscribers previously paying $7.99 monthly will now be charged $9.99 per month for the service’s standard plan. The rate change will be based on subscriber billing periods. Those who signed up at $8.99 per month following the previous increase in May 2014 will experience the jump to $9.99 this October. Netflix members will have the option of continuing at $7.99 for a single stream SD plan or keeping the HD plan at $9.99. Continue reading Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

FCC Approves Broadband Subsidy Plan, Looks at Privacy Rules

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a $9.25 per month subsidy that will bring broadband Internet to millions of low-income families. Three out of the FCC’s five commissioners voted for the subsidy plan, which is part of a reform of the Lifeline program and the latest FCC effort to treat broadband as a public utility. The subsidy for broadband comes at a time when high-speed Internet has become indispensible for school homework, finding and keeping employment and other essential tasks. Continue reading FCC Approves Broadband Subsidy Plan, Looks at Privacy Rules

New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

On March 21, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network E! debuted a daily live talk show — “Live From E!” — on Facebook Live. The show, which runs 15 to 20 minutes each weekday at 12:30 pm Eastern time, is shot with an Apple iPhone 6s Plus smartphone, and is also available on eonline.com and the E! Online app. The show represents a success for Facebook, which has been pitching TV networks, media companies, sports leagues (including the NFL) and celebrities to bring premium live content to its streaming service. Continue reading New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

Viacom, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are among the numerous entertainment companies offering their content a la carte — in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In the U.S., these networks are still parts of more expensive bundles proffered by Comcast, DirecTV and other pay TV services. That reflects a much lower penetration of homes outside the U.S. that have a cable or satellite subscription, which makes it possible for media companies to make a la carte offers without running afoul of pay TV providers. Continue reading Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

During an investor day in New York on Tuesday, CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves unveiled the network’s five-year business plan, which intends to ramp up business online and overseas, and cash in on retransmission fees in order to increase overall revenue by $3.75 billion. To help achieve its goal, the company plans to reach 8 million subscribers for its OTT services — CBS All Access and Showtime streaming — and add another 4 million subs for its skinny bundle packages. Sources also indicate that CBS has expressed interest in adding Starz to its cable portfolio. Continue reading CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

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