Breaking Bad on Netflix

Last week, Thomas Catan and Amy Schatz of The Wall Street Journal published an article about the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into whether or not cable companies are manipulating consumers’ access to streaming competitors of television content in order to reduce competition. The investigation’s central question is this: are cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner setting data caps to limit download time, speed, and amount of content in order to stave consumers off from using alternatives like Hulu and Netflix? Furthermore, the DOJ is investigating whether or not selective data limits applied to certain streaming outlets (like the fact that Comcast’s data limits can apply to streaming Hulu, but not Comcast’s own Xfinity services) violates Comcast’s legally-binding oath to not “unreasonably discriminate” against competitors. According to the WSJ, “Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday suggested he had sympathy for those who want to ‘cut the cord’ rather than paying for cable channels they don’t watch. At a Senate hearing, Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) said cable bills are ‘out of control’ and consumers want to watch TV and movies online. Mr. Holder responded, ‘I would be one of those consumers.’” What’s most important about this story for TV consumers is not so much the specific outcomes of this investigation (though that will no doubt have wide-ranging but uncertain implications), but the fact that lawmakers, regulators, and the industry will continue to be forced to recognize new distinctions being made between cable companies, networks, and individual shows as citizens increasingly […]



For years now NBC has laid dormant in fourth place behind CBS, ABC and FOX. The decline was slow and gradual, but once it became the butt of every Leno/Conan joke and started showing in the networks programming, it became clear that NBC was in a bad place. Then a glimmer of hope shined through, after years of mismanagement at the hands of Jeff Zucker, the network president was kicked out by new parent company Comcast who took over the majority share of NBCUniversal from General Electric this past year. The new bosses first move? Hire people that won’t just seal the cracks in the wall, but instead will take a sledgehammer to the house and build a new one from the ground up. The result? The hiring of former Showtime president Robert Greenblatt. Greenblatt is the man responsible for shows like Weeds, Dexter and Nurse Jackie. So for the first time in years, it looks like NBC has someone behind the wheel who has mastered the art of precision driving. And that bring us today and the recently announced fall 2011-2012 schedule. A schedule that is a… re-tooling to put it lightly. As new Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert said at the upfront on Monday, the schedule is “a little less reinvention of the wheel and a lot more Broadcasting 101″ which is probably the best way to describe it. Because what it appears is that the fourth place network is finally embracing the two words they have avoided for years “counter-programming.”

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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