March 28, 2013
Intel is making progress in talks with Time Warner, NBC Universal and Viacom to obtain TV shows and films for a first-of-its kind online pay-TV service, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is negotiating financial terms with the companies, according to the people, who sought anonymity because the talks are private. The media companies have signed off on the broad outlines of the proposed service, they said, with some aspects still to be settled. Other network owners aren't as far along, the people said.
Networks such as Time Warner's CNN, NBC's USA Network and Viacom's MTV would give Intel critical mass to offer consumers an alternative to established pay-TV services. Using its own set-top box, Intel plans to offer an online product this year, Erik Huggers, Intel's vice president for media, said last month. That would represent new competition for incumbent operators like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV. Intel is betting it can create a more flexible service, delivered through consumers' broadband accounts, that gives subscribers more choices over the channels they receive and offers an easier-to-use electronic programming guide, Huggers said.
The chipmaker is about to begin financial negotiations with News Corp., owner of the Fox film and TV businesses, two people said. Discussions with Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are at a more preliminary stage, according to the people. Media companies gain a deep-pocketed customer that will probably pay more initially for the content than existing cable and satellite-TV systems, David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital in New York, said in an e-mail. "It's great" for media companies, Bank said. "Intel will have to pay a premium as the new kid on the block." Jon Carvill, spokesman for Santa Clara, California-based Intel, declined to comment.
Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer of New York-based CBS, said on a Feb. 14 earnings call that his company is having conversations with Intel. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said he would consider providing content to Internet pay-TV services like the one proposed by Intel. "Not just Time Warner, but all of us have to look at these new distribution methods and whether they're viable," Bewkes said March 4 at an investor conference. "No one has come along with that yet, and we'd look at it." Intel is seeking access to live television, a library of on-demand shows and rights for a cloud-based digital video recorder, the people said. Customers would receive programming on TV sets, computers and mobile devices, Huggers said. The push into the media business is part of Intel's effort to lessen its dependence on the personal-computer market, which is predicted to decline for a second straight year in 2013. Bloomberg
One of the largest ever cyber attacks is slowing global internet services and the disruption could get worse, experts said on Wednesday, after an organization blocking "spam" content became a target. Spamhaus, a London and Geneva-based non-profit group which helps weed out unsolicited "spam" messages for email providers, said it had been subjected to "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks on an unprecedented scale for more than a week. "Based on the reported scale of the attack, which was evaluated at 300 Gigabits per second, we can confirm that this is one of the largest DDoS operations to date," online security firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. "There may be further disruptions on a larger scale as the attack escalates." Spamhaus publishes blacklists used by internet service providers (ISPs) to weed out spam in email traffic.
The group is directly or indirectly responsible for filtering as much as 80 percent of daily spam messages, according to Cloudflare, a company that said it was helping Spamhaus mitigate the attack. "We've been under this cyber-attack for well over a week," Steve Linford, chief executive of Spamhaus, told the BBC. "They are targeting every part of the internet infrastructure that they feel can be brought down." Perpetrators of DDoS attacks typically target websites by flooding servers with messages from multiple systems so they cannot identify and respond to legitimate traffic.
Paul Vlissidis, group technical director at internet security firm NCC, said the volumes of traffic involved in the attack were having a knock-on effect on the rest of the internet. Because many computers were involved in the attack, it was difficult to defend against. "If you have a few computers sending large amounts of traffic you can filter them out easily. When literally thousands and thousands are involved it makes it much, much harder," he told Reuters.
However, according to thinkbroadband, an independent British information website which allows users to test their broadband speed, there appeared to be little evidence of a slowdown. "Of course it is possible that people may be finding some services or sites they access over the Internet are performing slower than usual ... but there appears to be no evidence to say that UK broadband users have been slowed down across the board," it said on its blog. Reuters
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