Globalstar Seeking FCC Approval for Ambitious Wi-Fi Plans

Globalstar may get the FCC’s permission to convert its satellite spectrum into a private Wi-Fi network. On Friday, the FCC began its review of the satellite company’s Wi-Fi proposal. If the plan is approved, Globalstar would be able to sell its assets to companies like Amazon that need bandwidth without 4G mobile broadband capabilities. The FCC has rejected similar requests from other satellite companies, but Wi-Fi is low-powered enough that it might pass. Continue reading Globalstar Seeking FCC Approval for Ambitious Wi-Fi Plans

Networks Continue Legal Battles with Broadcast Disruptors

Two recent legal cases are creating problems for broadcasters. A federal appeals court refused to rehear a case in which broadcasters attempted to shut down Aereo, a company that allows users to record broadcast TV online, and another appeals court declined a case to prevent Dish Network from selling its Hopper service, which allows viewers to bypass TV commercials. How broadcasters ultimately respond to the disrupters could have a major impact on television. Continue reading Networks Continue Legal Battles with Broadcast Disruptors

Dish Network Unlocks Hopper DVR to Third-Party Developers

Dish Network recently opened its Hopper API to third-party developers. In doing so, the company provides non-Dish apps with direct access to Hopper in order to create new features and controls. These can expand its functionality, such as allowing tablets to serve as a remote control. This is in contrast to Dish only permitting official releases such as Dish Explorer and Dish Social. The company hopes this will help change the customer experience. Continue reading Dish Network Unlocks Hopper DVR to Third-Party Developers

Apple Pitches Ad-Skipping Tech for its Proposed TV Service

Apple has been in discussions with cable companies and television networks for more than a year regarding licensing agreements for a new service that would allow viewers to access live and on-demand television via an Apple set-top box or TV. In recent discussions, the company reportedly told media execs it hopes to offer a premium version that enables viewers to skip ads. According to people briefed on the discussions, Apple would compensate networks for the lost revenue. Continue reading Apple Pitches Ad-Skipping Tech for its Proposed TV Service

U.S. Consumers Upgrading Smartphones at Declining Rates

U.S. consumers are buying fewer smartphones and upgrading less often, a problem for device manufacturers and wireless carriers, such as Apple and AT&T respectively. The more advanced smartphones become, the less consumers feel the need to upgrade. Some consumers see the pace of innovation slowing, encouraging them to wait for breakthrough devices, and passing on the newest upgrades. Yet companies see a future in new services and technologies. Continue reading U.S. Consumers Upgrading Smartphones at Declining Rates

Dish Goes Up Against SoftBank to Purchase Sprint Nextel

Dish Network has received signed commitment letters from five banks, according to people familiar with the matter, bringing it closer to arranging $9 billion in committed financing for a planned $25.5 billion acquisition bid for Sprint Nextel. Dish has raised nearly $12 billion for the deal, which will compete with October’s $20.1 billion offer by SoftBank to acquire 70 percent of Sprint. The financing arrives a few days after Sprint agreed to enter into negotiations with Dish. Continue reading Dish Goes Up Against SoftBank to Purchase Sprint Nextel

Dish Network Submits $25.5 Billion Bid for Sprint Nextel

Pay TV operator Dish Network announced yesterday that it has placed a $25.5 billion bid for wireless carrier Sprint Nextel, which is presently ranked third in the U.S. behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Dish Network’s chairman and former CEO Charlie Ergen is hoping to bridge the gap of current wireless models by offering customers faster and more affordable television, high-speed Internet and cellphone services in a single package. Continue reading Dish Network Submits $25.5 Billion Bid for Sprint Nextel

Aereo Wins Again: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling

Aereo, the Internet service startup backed by Barry Diller that streams TV stations without compensation, has won another battle with broadcasters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York yesterday upheld a ruling in favor of Aereo, which could set the stage for a full-blown trial. Broadcasters sued the startup last year claiming the service violates copyright law, but a district court judge denied the request for a preliminary injunction. Monday’s 2-1 decision affirms the lower court ruling. Continue reading Aereo Wins Again: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling

Dish Network Chief Exec Talks Realities of Cord-Cutting

Amidst shrinking numbers, Dish Network chief Charlie Ergen isn’t sugar coating anything. He’s concerned about the long-term fate of the company’s core subscription TV business and sees cord-cutting as a growing trend. Dish’s recent earnings plunge was largely because of a $700 million settlement with Cablevision in October, along with rising programming costs. Even so, his biggest concern is how younger consumers are taking in content. Continue reading Dish Network Chief Exec Talks Realities of Cord-Cutting

Dish Chairman Discusses Hopper, Programming and Wireless

Charlie Ergen, chairman and co-founder of Dish Network, gave an hour-long keynote interview at this week’s D:Dive Into Media conference in Dana Point, California. While the discussion addressed Ergen’s take on topics such as the future of wireless and the potential of a la carte programming, host Peter Kafka focused on the Dish Network’s Hopper and the controversy surrounding ad-skipping technology. Continue reading Dish Chairman Discusses Hopper, Programming and Wireless

Dish Network Launches Blockbuster Movie Pass: Bad Timing for Netflix?

  • Dish Networks has announced its Blockbuster Movie Pass service that will offer streaming video; DVDs, Blu-ray discs and games by mail; and a satellite subscription service with on-demand movie channels.
  • Launching October 1, the service will initially be available to Dish subscribers and offered to others at a later date.
  • Movie Pass will include more than 100,000 movies and TV shows by mail, 5,000 streamed movies to TV and 10,000 to computer, and 3,000 games by mail. Users will have access to 20 premium Dish movie channels and the ability to exchange discs in-store at Blockbuster locations.
  • Current Dish Network subscribers will pay $10 per month for the service, while new Dish subscribers will have an opportunity for a free introductory year.
  • While the streaming capacity of the Blockbuster Movie Pass is not yet that of Netflix or Amazon, users will have access to movie offerings through Dish movie channels about a month earlier than other services. Also, Movie Pass touts “one company, one bill and one connection,” something that Netflix no longer has after splitting its streaming and mail-in services.

Bidding War: Has Google Proposed an Alternative Plan for Hulu Acquisition?

  • As the bidding war for Hulu continues, Financial Times reports that Yahoo, Amazon and Dish Network are all expected to offer near 2 billion dollars for the company, its subscription service and the rights to exclusive content for at least two years.
  • However, Google is rumored to have proposed a significantly higher bid for an acquisition proposal on a larger scale. Details have not been released, but some speculate that Google may offer a couple billion dollars more in exchange for more content for a longer period of time. It is not clear if the Google proposal includes a longer deal for content or possibly something else — or if Hulu would even be interested in a new plan.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal: “Since that’s not what Hulu’s owners have put on the table, ‘normally we would have thrown people out if they’d said that,’ says an executive familiar with the sales process. But Google ‘indicated that there’s enough money’ involved so that Hulu’s owners are at least thinking about continuing the discussion.
  • The video site would fit nicely with Google’s YouTube, which has struggled in landing the type of long-form premium content that Hulu owns. And if rumors are accurate, Google is willing to pay.
  • But would the content owners agree to terms with Google, which is already the largest video website worldwide, when they were earlier holdouts on Google TV?

Time Warner to Stream CNN and HLN Online

  • As part of its “TV Everywhere” strategy, Time Warner is streaming live simulcasts beginning this week of cable news channels CNN and HLN to people who subscribe via distributors such as Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon.
  • “TV Everywhere” is designed to discourage service cancellations by subscribers (also known as “cord cutting”).
  • Media companies are hoping to gain additional revenue from streaming either directly from distributors or through higher TV ratings.
  • “We’re trying to lead by example. We’re trying to show that it works,” said Andy Heller, vice chairman of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting. “If we don’t give consumers those options, you run the risk of seeing the potential for cord cutting.”