Late Breaking News
Syndeo Corp., a manufacturer and developer of Class 5 voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) softswitches, plans to announce today it has closed a $75 million round of venture capital funding. Co-leads on the deal are Comcast Interactive Capital and the Montreal-based IUGO Ventures. Four other MSOs – AOL Time Warner, Cox Communications, Rogers and Shaw – participated, along with Scientific-Atlanta and Sun Microsystems. Syndeo’s Syion 426 is in field tests, according to a Syndeo spokesperson. In February, the Armstrong Group, an MSO based in western Pennsylvania, selected the softswitch for deployment following an eight-month field trial. While the backing of five major MSOs can be seen as a vote of confidence for VoIP development, Comcast Interactive Capital senior associate Louis Toth says Comcast “hasn’t made any specific orders yet.”
The Rigas family bought itself more time to provide financial documents to a federal bankruptcy court in the Adelphia Business Solutions’ bankruptcy case. ABIZ, as the company is known, was granted a 60-day extension to prepare and file with a U.S. bankruptcy court in New York financial assets and liabilities statements, schedules of current income and expenditures and statements of its current contracts and unexpired leases after declaring in a motion to the court that the task of assembling these documents “will require an enormous expenditure of time and effort on the part of the debtors and their employees.” The court approved Adelphia’s motion and pushed the due date for these documents to June 10 from April 11. (Shares of Adelphia continued sliding last week. See story page 10.)
Viacom paid out smaller bonuses to its top two executives last year, but both the company’s CEO, Sumner Redstone, and COO, Mel Karmazin, saw their salaries jump 65%, to $3.3 million from $2 million in 2000. Virtually the entire increase was paid out as deferred compensation, according to Viacom’s proxy statement, filed late Friday. Their bonuses dropped 20% compared with 2000, to $12 million. Despite the decrease, the bonuses Sumner and Karmazin received were more than double the $5.5 million target bonus the company set for them. Viacom said in its proxy it awarded the bonuses due to the record operating results the company achieved. Richard Bressler, who joined Viacom last March and became CFO in May, received a salary of $767,694 and a bonus of $5 million, as well as 1 million stock options.
MTV is producing a made-for-cable movie that will take a satiric look at The Real World, one of the network’s most successful shows. The Real World – The Lost Season is set to air Aug. 6 on MTV.
Even without Cablevision Systems’ 3 million customers, the New York Yankees pulled higher ratings for the first eight games on the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network compared with last year’s showing on the Madison Square Garden Network. According to Nielsen ratings distributed by YES, the new network averaged a 2.7 compared with 2.5 for MSG last season. Both drew a 5 share. This could mean YES would be doing even better with Cablevision’s homes added in or it could just be a boost from loads of free publicity. Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court against Cablevision, YES and MSG on behalf of five Cablevision customers unable to watch the Yankee games.
Wisdom Television is offering a free video-on-demand package to new affiliates. “We’re making available our original programming to cable operators who agree to carry Wisdom TV,” says Tom Fennell, who joined the company as VP-affiliate sales in February. “We’re offering ten hours a month of programming on a free VOD basis, from a total library of about 450 hours.” The package can be launched “right away,” he adds – even before the network is officially launched with a new affiliate.
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