The cable company has a stake in the high court’s view of Aereo: Cablevision opened the door for the streaming service in 2008 when it beat back a challenge by broadcasters to its remote storage DVRs. Courts in that case agreed with the cable company that there was little difference, in legal terms, between a DVR that stored shows miles away on a remote server vs a set-top box. Aereo says the same principle applies to its remote antennas: They pick up over-the-air TV the same way consumers would if they had an antenna at home. But Cablevision says, in an amicus brief today, that it disagrees with arguments from Aereo and broadcasters alike. The streaming service should be deemed illegal, Cablevision says, because it’s “functionally identical to a cable system” that must pay broadcasters for the right to retransmit their over-the-air signals. “The fact that Aereo delivers programming on an individualized basis through mini-antennas and hard-drive copies does not change the basic nature of its service.” But Cablevision says that broadcasters go too far when they argue that their copyrights give them broad rights to determine what happens with the shows that they transmit. That view, if upheld, would “imperil nearly any cloud technology that enables remote storage and playback” such as Amazon’s MP3 Store and player. Although broadcasters say they wouldn’t threaten such services, Cablevision says they “advance an overbroad prior performance theory and then, in an effort to avoid its absurd results, engraft on an ad hoc exception for cloud technologies.”
This could be an important development, and not just for Cablevision customers. Cable execs have been keeping an eye on the company’s efforts to pioneer the cloud-based DVR, which gives subscribers the ability to use a conventional cable box — without a hard drive — to record shows and …
Listen to (and share) episode 42 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about emerging trends from the first half of 2013, led by a renewed appetite for dealmaking; Tribune’s big broadcasting bet as it comes out of bankruptcy; and what’s driving up prices for the red-hot stocks of Cablevision and Lionsgate.
The National Labor Relations Board can go ahead with its administrative trial this month on charges that Cablevision resorted to intimidation, bribery and harassment to stop some of its workers in the Bronx from joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Chief …
The cable company is responding to its loss on Friday at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C.: Justices upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s authority to hold an administrative trial this month on charges that Cablevision resorted to intimidation, bribery and harassment to stop some of its workers in the Bronx from joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) — part of a long-running series of disputes between the company and the union. But Cablevision now wants Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts — the Circuit Justice for D.C. — to stay the Appeals Court decision. Cablevision argued that the NLRB lacks a quorum. The company says that President Obama’s recess appointments were illegal because they were made while the Senate was on an intrasession break, not between sessions. Cablevision also says that an appointment can only be made to positions that open up during a recess.
You can’t attribute the 9.4% increase in Cablevision‘s share price today — and 23% jump over the last five days — to the day’s only solid news: Charter just closed the deal announced in February to pay $1.63B for Cablevision’s systems in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. No, investors are more excited by new reports that the Dolan family — led by Cablevision founder Charles Dolan and his son, CEO Jim Dolan — may finally be willing to sell the company, and that Time Warner Cable as well as Charter want to kick the tires. TWC has long salivated to combine its crown jewel cable system in Manhattan with Cablevision’s franchises in New York’s outer boroughs and suburbs including Long Island. Up to now, the Dolans haven’t been interested. The family tried to take the company private in 2007, but shareholders rejected the offer. Cablevision’s stock took a roller-coaster ride as execs grappled with growing competition from phone companies led by Verizon’s FiOS and restructured operations — including spinoff deals in 2010 for Madison Square Garden, and in 2011 for AMC Networks. But Cablevision’s stock price has been virtually dormant since the beginning of 2012, at least until the latest speculation-fueled run-up. The change: Liberty Media’s John Malone recently paid $2.6B for a 27.3% stake in Charter — run by former Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge. They’re eager to snag Time Warner Cable.
Shares in Time Warner Cable, Charter, and Cablevision popped this afternoon after Bloomberg reported that the one-time King of Cable is “exploring scenarios” to help Charter buy one of the other companies. Investors have speculated for weeks about a deal, seen as a real possibility since May when John Malone‘s Liberty Media paid $2.6B for a 27.3% stake in Charter. Today’s story took things further, citing unnamed sources who added details — including one who said that Malone and Charter “would like to get a friendly deal done [with Time Warner Cable] in the coming months.” Charter needs to show that it can afford to play; its $12.5B market value pales next to Time Warner Cable’s $31.7B. A buyer likely would have to pay much more: Evercore Partners’ Bryan Kraft says this week that TWC shareholders would want “a significant premium” to compensate them for giving up control, accepting additional risk, and creating most of the cost-saving synergies.
UPDATED: The cable company wants the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC to rule that the National Labor Relations Board lacks a quorum, alleging that President Obama’s recess appointments “were not legal.” If Cablevision prevails, then it would halt the NLRB’s plan to file a complaint charging that the company resorted to intimidation, bribery and harassment to stop some of its workers in the Bronx from joining the Communications Workers of America. Cablevision says that federal appeals courts in DC and the Third Circuit “have ruled that the NLRB lacks a valid quorum and thus has no authority to take action. Yet the NLRB is ignoring these rulings”, requiring the cable operator to “devote overwhelming amounts of time and money to participate in a lengthy, pointless trial.”
The preschooler-targeted network Sprout is the latest addition to Cablevision’s Optimum TV, which announced on Wednesday that Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze network would be available by the end of the month. Sprout announced a slate of new programming last month at NBC’s Summer Press Day, as well as the renewal of its hit The Chica Show for a second season. Click over to read today’s release:
The deal includes Clearview‘s venues except for Manhattan’s famous Ziegfield Theatre — which Bow Tie will manage for Cablevision. The companies didn’t disclose a price for the deal. The acquisition of Clearview’s 41 theaters will make Bow Tie the nation’s No. 8 exhibition company. Clearview’s Chelsea Cinemas will become Bow Tie’s Manhattan flagship and will continue to be “a prime venue for iconic industry events” including the Tribeca Film Festival,” the company says. Bow Tie adds that it will “further develop the relationships between Chelsea Cinemas and the local community.” It also vows to pay for “key upgrades that are designed to enhance the movie-going experience” including digital and 3D projection. Cablevision bought Clearview in 1998 and put it on the block about a year ago. “It is not a strategic asset for us,” Cablevision CFO Gregg Siebert said at the time. Cablevision also has other fish to fry as it struggles to grow as it deals with tough competition from Verizon and AT&T for video, broadband, and phone customers.
Here’s the release:
The stock was just up 3.6% last year, but the board says that execs did a good job despite “the continuing difficult economic and competitive environment in 2012 and the impact of Superstorm Sandy.” Jim Dolan‘s package consisted of …