CABLE AND SATELLITE OPERATORS have been hit with a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit seeking to force “a la carte” programming. Antitrust attorney Maxwell Blecher has filed the suit, asking the court to prevent cable and satellite companies from unlawfully bundling channels, and to award damages for forcing customers to pay for channels they do not want. The suit names all the top cable and satellite operators, including Cox, Comcast, DirecTV, EchoStar and Charter. It also includes programmers NBC Universal, Viacom, Fox, Disney, and Time Warner.
FOX will offer season premiere episodes of seven different series as free downloads on iTunes. The network will offer episodes of Prison Break, American Dad, K-ville and more. Fox is hoping that free episodes will engage a new batch of iPod-watchers, who will then tune into the show.
NIELSEN will deploy Local People Meters in 38 additional markets by 2011, which will bring the number of covered markets to 56. LPMs continuously track media consumption behavior in a variety of platforms: traditional broadcast, cable, mobile video, video games, and more. The expansion is part of Nielsen’s “Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement” initiative.
SLING MEDIA has signed a deal with DIRECTV and the NFL, which will bring NFL games to the popular Slingbox. Viewers will be able to watch online streaming video of the league’s Sunday games. John Malone, owner of DirecTV, is an investor in Sling.
NIELSEN data confirms earlier reports of a major ad-slowdown in the first half of 2007. The company says that ad spending fell .5% in that time period, with spot TV dropping 4.6%. Network TV is said to have dropped 3.8%, with cable slipping .3%.