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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:27 am 
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DIRECTV Challenges The Deal; Net Neutrality Watch & More

The Deal: As the Comcast/NBC-U deal moves closer to a (thus-far presumed) finale, DIRECTV is pulling out the stops noting in an ex-parte presentation from U of Chicago Professor Kevin Murphy that "The proposed transaction would create conditions likely to result in Comcast’s MVPD rivals paying higher fees for NBC-U programming."

Gov't & Regulation: Watch for an essentially toothless "targeted" net neutrality bill to surface from the House, possibly as early as this week. It would let the FCC adopt rules under limited guidelines and would sunset in two years. No action is expected before November's elections and public interest groups are sure to fight. Speaking of which, a report from International Telecommunications Union Secretary General Hamadoun Toure to the U.N. presented broadband as "the next tipping point" which should be made a basic civil right.

Piracy – A Digital Hole? BTIG's Rich Greenfield notes that, according to Engadget, "the HDCP (High Definition Copy Protocol) used to transmit content over HDMI cables between DVD players and televisions and cable/satellite set-top boxes and televisions had been cracked." That's since been confirmed by Intel and, Greenfield notes, it could put the kibosh on early VOD releases.

Partnerships & Deals: Verizon and Motorola are teaming up to offer consumers a chance to win tickets to one of 10 NFL regular-season games as well as an all- expenses-paid trip to Super Bowl XLV, with the Ultimate Game Day Access sweepstakes. There's a catch, of course: Contestants must watch a video about Verizon FiOS to enter. The sweepstakes run through Nov. 30 and can be found at http://www.motorola.com/ultimategamedayaccess--- TiVo and Pandora have a deal to include the latter's personalized internet radio service on all broadband-connected TiVo Premiere boxes.

Programming: DIRECTV will present Farm Aid's annual benefit concert live and in HD on the 101 Network. For the third year in a row, DIRECTV is the exclusive TV broadcaster for the concert which will feature acts such as Kenny Chesney, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz and Jeff Tweedy. --- Fuel TV has a new tag line ("Risk is the Only Rule") and some new programming to put the edge on its "dangerous" profile. Looking for a broader audience, the Fox-owned network has also added MMA and Rally Car Racing to its programming.

People: Verizon is juggling execs in an effort to prepare for the eventual departure of Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg. As of Oct. 1, Verizon Wireless President and CEO Lowell McAdam will move up to president and COO of Verizon Communications Inc. Separately Fran Shammo has been promoted to EVP and CFO of the company effective Nov. 1. --- Jerry Blake is new General Counsel for Zee TV and Veria. He comes to the company from Sundance and Rainbow Media and will be instrumental in "acquiring and distributing entertainment properties across all verticals – broadcast television, cable and digital media." --- Dave Grimaldi is new chief of staff and media legal adviser to the FCC's Mignon Clyburn. --- Former Intelsat Chairman Joseph Wright is now chairman of MTN Satellite's Board of Directors.

Correction: We erred in last week's report saying that Space Systems/Loral had been selected to build ViaSat's second high throughput Ka-band satellite. According to the company, SS/L is only one manufacturer being considered.

as seen on skyreport

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