Dish Issues, Comcast/TWC Questions, Cablevision’s Freewheeling, HLN What? – Paul S. Maxwell

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My book, “The Revolutionary Evolution of the Media,” continues! This is a work in progress. Read the latest chapter here .

Comment : The Federal Confusion Commission is really going to do it on the 26th of this month … vote 3 to 2 for Title “Too Lite” … or “Too Little Too Late?” Or, horrors, as Charter’s Tom Rutledge noted, among the 332 pages of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s version of Title II nothing will really change … for now. At least he promises to ignore rate regulation (which made the markets happy as cable stocks climbed a bit) and just about everything else except … sort of. The Devil is always in the details and, despite Wheeler’s vow to “forebear” (whatever), this doesn’t mean Wheeler’s successor shall feel the same way or have to follow that precedent. It leaves that ability to meddle on the books … that is scary. So, did that redefinition of broadband doom the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger? Unlike lots of other folk, I’m not so certain. I think the real questions revolve around any conditions (there will be many and some onerous) imposed by either/or the FCC and the DoJ.

In other happenings of note:

Is a company a small company if Dish owns 85% of it? Well, we know Dish management and we know they know how to skirt close to the edge. And, as Ergen frenemy Dr. John Malone often notes, show me the rules and I’ll follow them. Someone at some time wrote and someone else approved some sloppy rules. Will be interesting to see if the FCC can find a way to rewrite them and make sure the United States treasury gets the spirit of the law and some $3b+. But then, what about those 15% holders? Did they and Dish just lose? Or will Dish pay up? Stay tuned.

What was once Headline News is going to show movies. The entertaining anchor on NBC has taken a leave of absence because he sort of kind of over did entertaining by misremembering to separate narrative from reality. Never before has it been so clear that in order to make money in news on television (cable or broadcast), there’s only one way: pander to a select audience … primarily with blondes.

Cablevision’s Freewheel is great … voice over Wi-Fi and no cell charges. So too is T-Mobile’s cell + Wi-Fi ability on the iPhone 6. More should follow suit if only to lessen congestion on many cellular towers.

Its always interesting to run across things (like start-ups) created by old friends who’ve already had some success. Sometimes the new things are the same things (like I’ve done … just making some changes that change the time or space of accessing content via new conduits). One old friend, Eric Frankel, toiled at Warner Brothers for a long while and did some other stuff, too. Now, though, he noticed a not so small problem that online sales outlets cope with all of the time: A consumer clicks on something and puts it in a cart … and goes somewhere else (did that this morning myself). Eric, with a number of other friends and investors, has with AdGreetz come up with a powerful-looking solution: a truly very individualized and personalized message that can – maybe – help change that behavior. He’s already demonstrated how any message can be personalized and he’s already working with dozens of major companies. Take a look, I was impressed. Not that that means anything.

In an almost 50-year career writing and reporting on media, Paul S. Maxwell started and/or ran some 45-plus publications ranging from CATV Newsweekly to Colorado Magazine to CableVision to Multichannel News to CableFAX and The BRIDGE Suite of daily newsletters and research publications. In between publishing stints, Maxwell served as an advisor and/or consultant to a number of major media companies and media start-ups including running a unit of MCI and managing a partnership of TCI and McGraw-Hill.

Send any and all criticisms, suggestions, rants, threats, corrections, etc. to him at He has a new Web site coming soon!

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