The Week: FTC asserts authority over 'net neutrality'

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federal trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras asserted broad authority to regulate "net neutrality" and said the agency will step in if regulation is warranted. "Let me make clear that if broadband providers engage in anticompetitive conduct, we will not hesitate to act using our existing authority," she said at a Progress & Freedom Foundation conference in Aspen, Colo. "Dangers lie in legislating without clear evidence demonstrating the problem we wish to solve."

AOL to offer movies through AOL Video

aol has announced partnerships with four major Hollywood studios to offer its users downloadable movies through the AOL Video portal. Films from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will soon be available for $9.99 to $19.99 a flick. Once the movies have been downloaded, they can be viewed offline, as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices. These deals reinforce the more than 17 video-content partnerships and 45 on-demand-programming channels that AOL announced in July upon the relaunch of its video portal.

ABC shooting music videos to push shows

abc is planning to shoot a series of music videos to promote its fall shows. Much as it did during the Super Bowl, when ABC aired a doctored video of classic '80s song "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer, the network is commissioning special versions of songs to catch the attention of viewers. "We are using music as a strong device," said Marla Provencio, co-senior VP-marketing. "A lot of storytelling will be through music and we chose pieces of music that tell a story." The first music video will promote "Lost," where the marketing challenge for ABC will be hooking viewers who haven't watched before and may feel disconnected from the show's storyline. ABC has summoned the Kinks for a redo of their classic '60s hit "You Really Got Me" to air in support of "Desperate Housewives." The Fray's "How to Save a Life" is being used in support of "Grey's Anatomy." Other deals are still being pursued.

CARU slaps 'Superman' for targeting children

the children's Advertising Review Unit has slapped Warner Bros. for advertising the PG-13 film "Superman Returns" on the Cartoon Network. CARU, the ad industry's self-regulatory body that oversees children's advertising, said that touting the film on children's programming is wrong, considering the film's rating. The Motion Picture Association of America describes the PG-13 rating as a warning to parents that movies may not be suitable for young children. CARU, in its decision, said its guidelines require that content inappropriate for children not be advertised or promoted to them. "CARU was concerned that airing a commercial for a film rated PG-13 during children's programming with a substantial audience of children under 13 would create an interest in the film by the child audience and send an implicit message that the film is appropriate for all children," the group said in its case report.

Nielsen increases TV households figure to 111.4M

nielsen media research is increasing its estimate of TV households in the U.S. to 111.4 million, representing a 1.1% rise over last year. Nielsen, a division of Dutch company VNU, also upped its universe estimate, which represents TV viewers ages 2 and over within the population, by 1.1% to 283.5 million. This year's increase is double last year's estimate increase of 0.5%. But like last year, the baby boomers made the 55-to-64 age range the fastest-growing demographic category with a 3.9% increase. That could be bad news for marketers looking to target adults 18 to 49. According to Nielsen, baby boomers will reach ages 43 to 61 in 2007. But the "echo-boomer" and "Generation Y" groups, which represent teens and 20-somethings, also experienced growth, with the 18-to-24 age group increasing by 2%.

Microsoft enters ad deal with Facebook

following the lead of Google's search-advertising deal with MySpace, Microsoft has aligned itself with Facebook as the social network's exclusive provider of banner advertising and sponsored links. The deal gives a huge boost to Microsoft's AdCenter online ad platform, which has struggled to secure major distribution deals since its launch last year. The partnership will allow Microsoft to tap directly into a bastion of social-networking and consumer-generated media, said Steve Berkowitz, senior VP, Microsoft's Online Services Group. Facebook now boasts more than 9 million registered users, according to ComScore's MediaMetrix, and ranks as the seventh-most-trafficked site in the U.S.
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