Digital Daily Dozen: 4/20/15

The Digital Daily Dozen for April 20, 2015.

Google overhauls search rankings for mobiles Google will overhaul the way its search engine recommends websites on mobiles, an algorithmic shift that is likely to penalize many sites, including those of Microsoft and the European Union. The world’s most popular search engine will on Tuesday start updating its secret formula for ranking sites to favor those that are “mobile friendly.”

Disney Says Verizon’s Bundle-Breaking Pay TV Plan Breaks Its Rules (Recode) About that Verizon plan to break up the pay-TV bundle into smaller bundles? Not so fast, says Disney’s ESPN. Verizon’s plan, which it’s supposed to start marketing this weekend, violates agreements the programmer has with Verizon’s Fios TV unit, according to ESPN.

U.S. Antitrust Lawyers Said Leaning Against Comcast Deal (Bloomberg) Staff attorneys at the Justice Department’s antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable. Attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concern that consumers would be harmed.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable to meet with DOJ (USA Today) Comcast and Time Warner Cable are expected to meet this week with Justice Department officials in an attempt to gain approval for their planned merger, sources familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. The meeting, expected to happen Wednesday, is the first that the companies have had with the department.

Indian Companies Turn Against Facebook’s Scheme for Broader Internet Access (Technology Review), the project Facebook set up to expand Internet access in poor parts of the world, has been hobbled in India by accusations that it prevents fair competition. Several major Indian companies criticized or withdrew from a part of the project that makes certain online services available for people to use without incurring data charges.

Sony Attorney to Media: Don’t Spread WikiLeaks Documents (Hollywood Reporter)

Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies sent a letter to news organizations, asking them to ignore documents WikiLeaks published. WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures, which were obtained during a hack attributed to North Korea in retaliation for the studio’s The Interview.

FCC Votes to Free up More WiFi Spectrum (Multichannel) The FCC voted 5-0 on what at least three out of the five commissioners called a “paradigm shift” in spectrum policy. That was on a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to free up 150 MHz in that band for WiFi and other uses. Cable operators are looking for all the new WiFi spectrum they can get.

How the Digital Music Industry Can Spin Your Listening Habits Into Ad Dollars (Adweek) What do your listening habits say about you? That’s one of the most important questions the digital music industry is asking as it develops new technology for highly targeted advertising. The biggest players like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartMedia are developing technology to serve ads to listeners, and they all see value in targeting.

Shots Fired in New Web War (The Hill) The war over network neutrality is about to see its fiercest fighting yet. Groups representing virtually every corner of the cable and telecom industry have unleashed a barrage of lawsuits against the FCC’s new Internet regulations, in what has all the makings of a heavyweight bought destined to go all 12 rounds.

Time for Congress to Reform Cable TV Laws [Commentary] (Rollcall) With Washington divided on a number key policy fronts, now is perhaps the perfect time for Congress to focus on an issue that has bipartisan support: Overhauling the 1992 Cable Act and scrapping many badly outdated video regulations. A great place to start is with the requirement called the basic tier buy-through.

Gaining Ground, or Just Trending Water? [Commentary]  (Columbia Journal Review)

Is nonprofit news sustainable? The Knight Foundation laid out the case for optimism in its third report on nonprofit news: “Gaining Ground: How Non-Profit News Ventures Seek Sustainability.” If the report were a weather forecast, the prediction for nonprofits would be partly cloudy with a chance of sun.

Netfilx Bets Its Future On Exclusive Programs (New York Times) Netlix CEO Reed Hastings wants to position the company’s original programming “as broad as the human experience.” But intensifying waves of competition and costly global expansion plans may hamper its efforts. Yet Hastings sees some of that competition as fueling a Yankees/Red Sox-level rivalry that will spur creativity.

Consumers Concerned About IoT Data, Privacy (Mediapost)

The companies behind the growing Internet of Things may have to do a little consumer massaging (and messaging) to allay some deep concerns before their products can reach heavy adoption. Nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers with broadband access are concerned about privacy and security when it comes to smarthome devices.