Sumner Redstone, who resigned as executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS last week, started off as an Army cryptographer and moved on to create a media empire, beginning with the expansion of his family's theater business. Other highlights of the 92-year-old icon's career include receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and acquiring Viacom, Paramount and CBS.
Starz Chief Strategy Officer John Penney sees Canada's impending cable unbundling as a "learning experience" rather than a threat. The packages provided by Canadian cable and satellite companies beginning March 1 will offer consumers more choices by allowing them to pick the channels they want to add. "Having an experiment at the grand scale that Canada is doing is a great service for the rest of the world's operators to see what it looks like when you go to these models," Penney said.
Netflix's planned global launch into Asia faces challenges such as pricing, regulation and poor broadband connections. Netflix's model includes similar pricing as in its current markets, which is more expensive than other Asian competitors and may lead to piracy and slow growth. A competitive field of rivals such as HBO Go in Hong Kong and the Philippines, Chinese platforms such as LeEco and expanding services such as PCCW's Vue all pose hurdles for the company.
ESPN's "Monday Night Football" will be returning to Mexico City for the first time since 2005 with a Nov. 21 game planned at Estadio Azteca. The game will feature the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders, and it will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. "The opportunity to televise this game is particularly exciting for ESPN as part of our commitment to the NFL's growing Hispanic fan base," says ESPN President John Skipper.
Netflix's original prison dramedy will be returning for seasons 5, 6 and 7, and creator Jenji Kohan will be on board for all three seasons. "Jenji and her team have produced a phenomenal and impactful series that is both funny and dramatic, outrageous and heartfelt," says Netflix Vice President of Original Content Cindy Holland.
At a recent New America Foundation conference in Washington, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised Comcast and Alphabet for investing in broadband. The focus of the conference was to talk about Lifeline subsidy program reformations to provide all consumers with advanced telecommunications services. "The private sector plays a hugely important role, investing tens of billions each year to expand and upgrade their networks continually," he said. "Private companies like Alphabet [Google's parent] and Comcast have also stepped up to promote adoption."
USTelecom has left the group that had been lobbying federal regulators on Charter Communications' bid to buy Time Warner Cable, saying it disagreed with the views of those within the Stop Mega Cable coalition who want to prevent the merger altogether. In a statement Friday, USTelecom said it favored imposing "common-sense conditions" on the deal, which is before the Federal Communications Commission.
Cook County, Ill., officials expect construction on a fiber-based 10-gigabit broadband network to be completed in 2017. The $16 million project, which will link facilities throughout the Chicago area, is using fiber already installed along the rail lines of the Chicago Transit Authority.
Cincinnati Bell will join the parade of pay-TV providers trying to keep subscribers connected with lower-cost packages that provide fewer cable networks. The regional telecom will charge $30 a month for its "Fioptics MyTV" service of more than 50 channels that allows subscribers to pay $6 to $25 a month for additional channel bundles.
The heads of two House panels dealing with communications issues have criticized the Federal Communications Commission for imposing a 25-megabit-per-second floor as a standard for broadband service. "Since 2011, it appears that the Commission has applied inconsistent definitions and analyses in making [broadband deployment] determinations. Those reports have then been used to justify Commission actions to intervene in seemingly competitive markets," Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
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