This Just In

McSoft Breaks Ranks, Backs Box-Ban Delay

Washington — Breaking ranks with industry allies, Microsoft Corp. is now supporting the delay of a July 2006 ban on integrated cable set-tops, a decision based in part on commitments by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable to ensure the rollout of two-way plug-and-play digital-TV sets by the end of that year.

The compromise was unveiled last week in a conference call involving Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt and Microsoft chief technology officer Craig Mundie.

A three-page letter, containing details about the call that was obtained by Multichannel News, said that Microsoft, after talks with Comcast and Time Warner Cable, would support a six-to-18 month delay.

MSOs are resisting implementation of the ban, which would require all new cable boxes to function with the conditional-access device called a CableCARD, because it would raise box costs without offsetting benefits for consumers.

Insight Ups Dowell To SVP of Ad Unit

New York — Kevin Dowell, who had been vice president of advertising sales, is now senior vice president of Insight Media, Insight Communications Co.’s ad-sales unit. In his new post, Dowell will continue to oversee Insight Media’s operations and staff of 380 employees.

Cox, SRC Ink Analysis Deal

Orange, Calif. — SRC LLC has inked a contract with Cox Media to develop customized intelligence and market analysis as a means of boost advertising sales and efficiencies.

Cox Media, the ad-sales arm of Cox Communications Inc., will use SRC’s Portfolio Web application to provide clients with data about population densities, lifestyle profiles, competitor selling volumes and product potential.