THE FCC launches the highly-anticipated 700 MHz spectrum auction today. Bidding is anonymous and will last two months before winners are declared. Daily updates will be available on auctions.fcc.gov.
NBC clarified its stance on pilot season, saying it will not cancel any pilot orders for the upcoming season but will scale back in the future. The network will honor pending orders placed with Universal Media Studios as well as any external companies. In coming years it will still order dozens of “first episode” pilot scripts. Fox, CW and CBS have all canceled some pending script orders.
MINDSHARE research has found significant impacts of the strike on viewing behavior. Over half of respondents are spending more time online and 60% say their favorite shows are in reruns. Close to half of the viewers polled were frustrated by the situation but overwhelmingly supportive of the writers. Awareness of the strike has jumped to 92% from two-thirds in November. However, the most alarming statistic may be this: 28% of viewers claimed they might not or probably won’t return to TV after the strike is over.
CBS unveiled on-demand ad-supported music on social music site Last.fm. All four major music labels are on board to offer content, as well as a staggering 150,000 independent labels and artists. Artists will be paid per listen. Tracks will be full-length but limited to 3 plays. Last.fm is working on adding music videos and possibly non-music video content in the future. In related news, YAHOO is in preliminary talks with music labels to launch an MP3 store that will either sell tracks or give them away using an ad-supported model.
NETFLIX announced positive fourth quarter results, beating earnings estimates and adding 451,000 subscribers to its DVD rental service. The company now has 7.5 million paying subscribers. CEO Reed Hastings told investors he is not worried about Internet-delivered VOD replacing DVD any time soon and called devices like Apple TV “background noise.” Of course, the company is also preparing for the post-DVD era by offering its Watch Now streaming service on PCs and upcoming set-top boxes. Hastings also noted that Blu-ray disc rentals have increased since the start of the year while HD DVD rentals have declined.
MYSPACE will soon begin offering BBC video content online on 23 regional sites. The two companies are forming a partnership that will share advertising revenue. Videos will be channelized by genre and available for embedding in MySpace profiles. An announcement is expected today.