The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to let cable companies contact subscribers with verified email addresses about service changes and rate increases electronically rather than on paper. Democratic member Jessica Rosenworcel dissented in part, saying emails about rate increases could be mistaken for spam.
Comcast X1 subscribers will now have access to Tubi TV, a free service for movie streaming that is new to cable but has a devoted fan base among streaming viewers. Comcast also is adding two independent channels aimed at viewers of color, Cleo TV and Afro, to its regular cable product.
Syfy is branching into late night with its order of "Alien News Desk," an animated series from Lorne Michaels and other "Saturday Night Live" alums. The series will star Heidi Gardner and Will Forte as alien news anchors puzzled by human current affairs.
Altice USA operating chief Hakim Boubazine says the company isn't worried about competition from fixed wireless services backed by 5G. Altice sees the network as a way to fill in gaps in its existing wired broadband products.
Less than half of TV screen viewing is composed of live broadcasts, notes Parks Associates, which pegged the proportion of broadcast TV viewed in 2018's third quarter at just 42%. Shifts in the way people watch TV require broadcasters to focus more on "delivering video to mobile phones and transitioning live video to online sources" in order to succeed, says Parks' Brett Sappington.
Now that fast, reliable connectivity is a given from most providers, cable companies are considering how best to differentiate their offerings in a crowded marketplace. "As [network] operators we always think at the network level and we think in terms of connectivity -- and we need to start elevating our thinking," said NetScout Systems' Vikram Saksena.
Comcast is addressing holiday package theft by adding features to its Xfinity Home security cameras, such as motion filters and artificial intelligence with extra zoom capabilities. The company hopes the security additions will assist law enforcement with investigating holiday theft, which last year affected 1 in 4 people, a Wakefield Research report shows.
MTV is bringing back its "Spring Break" franchise, starting March 19 and broadcasting from Cancun, Mexico. The move is aligned with the network's efforts to increase its focus on vintage unscripted shows like "Total Request Live," "The Hills" and "Jersey Shore."
AT&T is beta testing its new self-install set-top box, which will eventually mean the phasing out of installation trucks and satellite service. The move will help the company lower overhead costs and spend less on bringing in subscribers.
Comcast is teaming up with Nielsen to enhance its viewing metrics, which will now include streaming data on desktop and mobile customers. Nielsen currently only measures Xfinity cable TV viewing among Comcast's offerings.
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