Alex Kurtzman, the producer for Star Trek's television properties, has signed a deal with CBS Studios that lasts until 2026. "Discovery," "Picard," "Lower Decks" and "Strange New Worlds" will all be back on Paramount+, with at least two other series reportedly in the works.
Discovery's direct-to-consumer unit has 18 million global subscribers, an increase of 3 million since late April, the company announced. Quarterly revenues expanded by 21% year-to-year on 12% growth in both distribution and advertising revenues.
States and territories would receive about $40 billion to expand broadband under the infrastructure bill before the Senate, with $14 billion set aside for enhancing the Emergency Broadband Benefits initiative. The state funding would be aimed at regions where high-speed access is unavailable or inadequate.
DIRECTV is now an independent company, as AT&T has completed a spinoff that also includes U-Verse and AT&T TV, and plans to offer AT&T's former streaming services under DIRECTV Stream. The new platform will apparently be available through both streaming devices and satellite links.
Vizio is adding two curated channels, a live content guide and navigational features to WatchFree, which it now calls "WatchFree+." The television manufacturer used information it collected from in-house division Inscape Data Services to redesign its interface.
Media companies are carefully balancing their content across platforms, with scripted programming increasingly airing on streaming services while linear cable largely carries live sports and news. Hundreds of new job openings for the upcoming CNN+ and NBC News Now services are evidence that networks are trying to attract streaming audiences, who are generally younger than traditional television viewers, to video news as well.
Charter Communications outpaced Wall Street predictions in the quarter ending June 30 by adding 400,000 subscribers to its broadband service, gaining 9.5% in year-to-year revenue and reporting an 11.8% rise in cash flow. Revenues from commercial services and streaming are playing a larger role in Charter's finances, executives said.
The Senate hopes to pass the proposed infrastructure bill, which contains $65 billion in broadband funding, by Aug. 6. Its fate in the House is less certain, since representatives are trying to make the legislation's passage contingent on a reconciliation package aimed at issues of climate change and poverty.
Cable companies gained 550,000 mobile accounts during the latest quarter, 13.4% more than they did during the same period a year ago. Comcast reported that it now serves 3.4 million customers, Charter 2.9 million and Altice 180,000.
Cable companies are starting to invest more capital into new hybrid fiber-coaxial projects, says Casa Systems CEO Jerry Guo. He adds that the majority of the funds go to distributed access architecture enabling virtualized converged cable access platforms and remote MACPHY "high-split" upgrades for upstream broadband.
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