MediaBytes 11.12.2007

NBC has launched NBC Direct, a service that allows consumers to download NBC content. Users can subscribe to shows and have them automatically download when new episodes become available. However, they must watch them within 48 hours of downloading. NBC Direct has some other major drawbacks: it requires a proprietary player, Windows Media 10 and Internet Explorer. If you live in the Dark Ages, this may be a useful way to watch Television.

THE CEA‘s survey of analog, over-the-air TV owners found that 22% plan to “do nothing” when the analog spectrum shuts down on February 17, 2009. The group estimates that up to 28 million analog sets will need digital-to-analog converters. If consumer opinion doesn’t change, the spectrum shutdown could reduce the national Television audience by over 5 million households.

THE FCC is expected to release a report that finds cable “too dominant” as a video provider and proposes new programming and access requirements for carriers. The Commission may attempt to limit the programming rates and growth of the top cable providers. The new proposals will be based on a rule in the Cable Communications Act of 1984, which makes regulation possible if cable is available to 70 percent of the country and used by 70 percent of households. The NCTA and other industry groups have quickly responded, saying that cable is used by far less than 70% of the country.

WARNER BROTHERS TELEVISION is in negotiations with HULU to bring WBTV content to the new online TV service. The deal will focus on older shows form the Warner library. ABC will release mini episodes of Lost on its web site this week. The “mobisodes” were originally shot with original content for Verizon mobile phones.

THE STRIKE continues. The WGA issued a public letter condemning Guild member Ellen DeGeneres for returning to her show. The host received support from AFTRA, who said she was required to fulfill her AFTRA-related duties. Ellen will refrain from monologues as part of the WGA strike. News writers at CBS and ABC may join the strike. Over 500 CBS News employees, who are members of the Guild and currently working without a contract, will meet on Thursday to vote on strike authorization. Over 200 contract-less WGA employees at ABC News are considering similar measures.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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