FIOS TV gets customizable Nick Jr. TV channel

Verizon’s (S VZ) FIOS TV is the first pay TV provider to get a new, customizable kids TV channel dubbed My Nick Jr. from Viacom in the coming months, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Parents will be able to pick themes like “get creative” to launch a continuous stream of kids shows from the Viacom (S VIA) vault, and kids will be able to rate each show to further personalize their programming. Think Pandora, but with Dora instead of Lorde. Viacom wants to bring the offering to other TV providers after launching it on FIOS.

FIOS TV exec: Cord cutting is growing, and changing the TV biz

Many cable TV operators still argue that cord cutting doesn’t exist, but Verizon’s FIOS TV director Maitreyi Krishnaswamy thinks it’s real, and growing. But that’s not all: Krishnaswamy is also arguing that it might change the industry by putting pressure on studios.

Apple’s iTV and the carrier question

Apple is reportedly looking to partner with TV operators for the launch of its upcoming iTV product. Why would it? Because doing so would give it more content, enable it to offer a better user interface, and give it wider distribution.

Vid-Biz: Redbox, Canoe, Netflix

Warner, Fox Try to Get Redbox Lawsuits Dismissed; the film studios asked a US district court to throw out Redbox’s lawsuits, saying that it has failed to show any antitrust violations or any illegal agreements with retailers such as Walmart or Best Buy. (Video Business)

Canoe Pushes Back Interactive Ad Launch; after expecting to debut interactive ads before the end of 2009, the MSO-backed company now says it’s on track to launch a request for information next spring. (Multichannel News)

Netflix Envoy Pitches Online Films to Wary Studios; the company is counting on chief content officer Ted Sarandos to cut deals with studios giving Netflix rights to show more films over the Web. (Bloomberg)

D-Link to Introduce iPhone App for Boxee Box; D-Link will showcase the app at CES next month, and make the software available for free from Apple’s App Store. (9to5 Mac)

News Corp to Exit Serbia; Greece’s Antenna Group has agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in the Serbian station Fox Televizija from News Corp for an undisclosed fee. (Broadband TV News)

Mediacom Turns To Mediator To Resolve Retrans Dispute; the cable operator held a negotiation session with a third-party mediator from outside the FCC in an attempt to resolve its retransmission- consent dispute with Sinclair. (Multichannel News)

FiOS TV’s Top 10 VOD Movies for 2009; Twilight takes the top spot, with Taken and Gran Torino close behind. (Verizon FiOS blog)

FCC Preserves Retrans ‘Good Faith’ Provision; the provision prevents broadcasters “from engaging in exclusive contracts for carriage or failing to negotiate in good faith.” (Multichannel News)

Vid-Biz: Comcast, uTorrent 2.0, Simpsons

Comcast/NBCU Announcement This Week? Two sides have reportedly reached a tentative deal wherein the cable company would own 51 percent of NBC Universal. (The New York Times)
uTorrent 2.0 to Be a Network Friendly BitTorrent Protocol; will eliminate the need for ISPs to throttle BitTorrent traffic because the protocol will be network-aware and will throttle itself. (TorrentFreak)
FOX to Do On-Air Scavenger Hunt for The Simpsons; during the week of Nov. 9 – 13, viewers can watch for Simpsons shout-outs, tributes and clues, and enter to win a prize package. (TV by the Numbers)
TV Networks Tuning In to Google Video Box Ads; the ad, which brings up video when clicked on, being used by The CW, ABC, and USA. (MediaWeek)
FiOS TV Growth Slowing Down; telco added 191,000 video subscribers, and is now at 2.7 million overall. (Multichannel News)
Can Twitter and Social Marketing Save the Movies? Revision3 CEO says his company was able to help Paranormal Activity become a hit by using social media in conjunction with Rev3’s shows and talent. (Jim Louderback)

Epix Picks a Launch Date

epixironmanEpix, the forthcoming pay TV and broadband channel from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount, will launch on Oct. 30, the company announced yesterday. Though strangely, Verizon (s VZ), which is the network’s only announced carrier, said on its Verizon at Home Blog that the telco will “announce soon the date when the Epix channel will officially launch on FiOS TV,” while linking to the Epix launch press release.

Epix will hit the ground running with hit movies like Iron Man, the Madonna concert special “Sticky and Sweet: Live from Buenos Aires,” and a comedy special from Eddie Izzard. Epix will also have such movies as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Cloverfield.

Epix’s prospects still face industry skepticism given the company has only announced one carriage deal all year. Some question the timing of another premium channel launch when other premium channels are losing subscribers.

Epix is a bit of a different beast than other pay TV channels as it has made online distribution a key part of its offering from the get-go. The company recently announced that it will deliver 3,000 movies to its Epix Megaplex at in the first quarter of 2010.

Vid-Biz: Brightcove, The Lake, Lego

Brightcove Partners with Livestream; the two companies have developed a way for customers to incorporate pre-recorded live video streams into Brightcove’s system, or use its players for new, live streams. (Contentinople)
The Lake Gets Johnson & Johnson Sponsorship; it’s reportedly a six-figure deal for the Generate show. (MediaWeek)
Lego Rejects Use of Spinal Tap Video; toy company says a UGC stop-motion video for the song “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” can’t be part of the concert DVD. (The New York Times)

Verizon Releases DVR Updates; FiOS Media Manager connects customers’ PCs to their TVs for photo and video viewing; and customers with Net-enabled phones can now remotely manage their DVRs. (emailed release)
300 Million DLNA-Certified Components to Ship by 2012; up from 83 million last year; growth spurred by web-connected TVs. (Video Business)
Berliner Philharmoniker to Webcast 33 Concerts Live; the Digital Concert Hall series opens Aug. 28; full season subscription costs $209. (

Vid-Biz: Holograms, Limelight, Babelgum

100 DVDs on a Single Disc; breakthrough in storage comes courtesy of G.E., and is a result of the company’s work in holography. (The New York Times)
Court Says Limelight Doesn’t Infringe on Akamai’s Patent; legal battles have been ongoing since July 2006, Akamai says it will appeal this latest decision. (GigaOM)
Babelgum Stakes Its Claim in a Niche; web TV service says it wants to fill in the void between viral video destinations and premium content sites like Hulu, and will go after professionally produced content catered around specific passions. (MediaPost)
CBS Interactive Scores More Than 200 Million Unique Users in March; of course, it got a some help from a little thing called NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament; stats provided by comScore Media Metrix (not Video Metrix). (emailed release) Elsewhere at CBS, an early deployment of mobile DTV will happen on buses near the network’s Raleigh, N.C. affiliate later this year. (MediaWeek)
Documentary Channel Heading for the Web; network will offer 15 percent of its library online and has recently launched channels on YouTube and (Multichannel News)
Verizon Added 299,000 Net New FiOS TV Customers in Q1 of 2009; brings the total number of FiOS TV customers to 2.2 million. (GigaOM)
Hey, Aspiring TV Writers, FOX is Holding a Contest; script contest held in conjunction with the New York Television Festival, and this year it will have a production company participating as well. (The New York Times)

Verizon to Launch FiOS TV in NYC on Monday

Verizon will start selling FiOS TV in New York City on Monday. The announcement will be made at a glitzy ceremony at the Grand Central Station, and will be webcast as well. NYC had granted Verizon a television franchise in May, and the franchise was confirmed by the New York Public Service Commission on July 16. The company today announced that it was getting into offering web video on its set-top boxes.

On the FiOS NYC announcement, this move should turn the heat on Time Warner Cable which is finally going to see some aggressive competition in its home market. It would need to not only increase broadband speeds, it would need to give consumer a reason to stay with them for cable TV.

Telcos’ TV Slowly But Surely Doing Better

Thanks to some generous support of their pal, FCC Commish Kevin Martin, and others at the state level, the big bets made by AT&T and Verizon on video — in the form of U-verse and FiOS, respectively — are slowly beginning to pay off. Last week, AT&T reported that it added 148,000 new U-verse subscribers in the first quarter, taking its total to 379,000. Ma Bell hopes to have a million subscribers for its U-verse service by end of 2008.

Today Verizon says it added 263,000 new FiOS subscribers in the first quarter of 2008 for a total of 1.2 million FiOS TV customers. Funnily enough, their presence is causing all sorts of problems for traditional TV providers, the cable and satellite guys. This is resulting in negative advertising campaigns, that while full of hyperbole, are amusing nevertheless.