Digital Daily Dozen: 4/22/15

The Digital Daily Dozen for April 22, 2015.

It’s Official: Verizon Fios Becomes First Pay-TV Provider to Offer Customized Program Packages (Hollywood Reporter) Verizon’s FiOS service made official its plan to let customers put together a personalized package of TV programming, which is seen as a move in the direction of a la carte offers. The Custom TV service, widely reported late last week, lets customers choose channel packs from seven different genres.

Study: connected TV owners streaming more video than a year ago (Stream Daily) More than a third of connected TV owners are streaming more video to their TV than a year ago, according to a new Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) study. The IAB found 35% of connected TV owners had increased their streaming habits, compared with 25% for smartphone and tablet owners and 20% computer owners.

Facebook Tweaks Cause Concern Among Marketers, but Not Necessarily Panic (Ad Week) Facebook unveiled changes to the way its news feed algorithm distributes page posts, giving more credence to posts by users’ friends than from publishers. For instance, news articles with many likes and comments have typically appeared high up in users’ news feeds, but that is being reduced to a degree.

Senators Seek To Block Comcast’s Merger With Time Warner (Mediapost) Comcast’s proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable would result in “higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services,” a coalition of senators says in a letter to the FCC and Department of Justice. The lawmakers are asking regulators to block the deal, arguing that it would leave Comcast with too much power.

Congress Considers Freeing More Spectrum For Mobile Broadband (Mediapost) WiFi, Bluetooth and vehicle-to-vehicle safety communications could be on a collision course unless the government figures out a way to share spectrum. Over the next few months, leaders on the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a series of meetings with officials at the FCC, the NTIA and Transportation.

Mindless Media Is The New Fast Food [Commentary] (Mediapost) In the age of social media, the editor is fast replaced by the algorithm; curation and distribution comes from our friends, not newsstands; and our opinions are further reinforced and entrenched by selection bias. With news brands considering Faustian pacts with Facebook, now seems like a good time to discuss this issue.

CBO: Spectrum Auction To Net $10B-$40B (Katy on the Hill) A Congressional Budget Office report is estimating that the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction could net the government between $10 billion and $40 billion. The mid-range estimate of the proceeds is $25 billion. The CBO did the analysis at the request of Sen. Dean Heller.

Broadcasters, Aereo In $950K Settlement (Deadline) A year less a day after the Barry Diller-backed streaming service argued in front of the Supreme Court over the broadcasters’ claims of copyright violation, the now Chapter 11 Aereo hopes its come to the end of the long legal road. The shuttered company and its nemesis’ have come to a deal that will see Aereo pay out $950,000.  

The New Reality Of Watching The Box (Nielsen) Our viewing patterns are shifting and can now watch where we want, when we want. The explosion of devices has given us more access to content and brands than ever before. While the television is still the screen of choice for viewing video content, device proliferation and social-media interaction is shifting the power.

Comcast-Time Warner Cable and the Open Internet: One Issue, Not Two [Commentary] (Benton) It’s now a two-front people’s crusade to prevent gatekeepers from wresting control of our nation’s communications ecosystem. One front is preserving and protecting the FCC’s historic passage of real net neutrality rules two months ago. The other is stopping the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in its tracks.

Why Hispanics Hold the Key to the Comcast Merger (The Washington Post, Switch Blog) To ensure its massive merger with Time Warner Cable stays on track, Comcast has invested heavily in lobbying and advertising aimed at federal officials reviewing the deal. And as part of its Washington blitz, Comcast is turning to another powerful group to help make its case: Hispanic Americans.

Patriot Act Legislation (The Hill) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced legislation to extend controversial sections of the Patriot Act. He didn’t offer any comments on the legislation, but fast-tracked it so it could be placed on the Senate’s calendar without having to go through the committee process.

GAO Finds Elimination of the Broadcast Exclusivity Rules Would Have “Varying Effects” (Wiley on Media) In a report to Congress, the Government Accountability Office found that the effects of eliminating the FCC’s network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules would “depend on other federal actions and industry response.”  To arrive at this “conclusion,” the GAO reviewed comments filed by industry stakeholders.