Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania

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February 5, 2013

A joint committee hearing in the House on Tuesday will examine the lasting effects of a United Nations telecommunications treaty on the Internet and the legislative steps Congress can take to protect the current model used to govern the network. The treaty is the product of a conference hosted by the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that wrapped up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries declined to sign the final version of the treaty because of concerns it included measures that would threaten Internet freedom and disrupt the multi-stakeholder model used to govern the Internet.

During the negotiations at the treaty conference, China, Russia and a handful of Middle Eastern countries pushed for governments to have greater control over key technical functions used to manage the Internet. The U.S. opposed such measures. The hearing will be held jointly by the House Energy and Commerce subpanel on communications and technology and the Foreign Affairs subcommittees on terrorism and human rights.

The treaty will not go into effect until 2015. But the committees said they intend to weigh "what happened in Dubai, what implications the treaty has for the Internet and the economic and social freedoms it fosters," according to a background memo by the Energy and Commerce Committee. The committees will also look at "what steps can be taken to redouble international support for the multi-stakeholder model." Witnesses will include Ambassador David Gross, who served as a member of the U.S. delegation during the conference; Public Knowledge Senior Vice President Harold Feld; Internet Society Public Policy Senior Manager Sally Shipman Wentworth; and Robert McDowell, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission.

At the hearing, the committees will also discuss putting forward legislation declaring that U.S. policy is to promote Internet freedom and preserve the multi-stakeholder model used to govern the Internet. The language in the bill will be based on a resolution that the House and Senate passed last year before the Dubai treaty conference, which fought against international efforts to regulate the Internet, according to the memo. The Hill


Eight years after Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," CBS Corp. may face more headaches over expletive-laced, celebratory comments from Joe Flacco after he led the Baltimore Ravens to victory in Sunday's Super Bowl. But the quarterback also maintained a tradition on behalf of a larger rival by saying: "I'm going to Disney World!" It is great publicity for Walt Disney Co., which is set to report fiscal first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, Even so, the big money for media companies remains on the field, not off. Disney is seen reporting earnings per share of 78 cents on $11.2 billion in revenue for the period ended in December. That would be off from 80 cents a year earlier on revenue of $10.8 billion.

But the largest chunk of Disney's sales comes not from parks, licensed baubles or even movie studios these days. Cable networks such as sports behemoth ESPN plus broadcast TV brought in as much operating income last year as all of Disney's other business segments combined. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets think ESPN contributed 28% of the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in fiscal 2012. That is amazing considering that, back during Disney's $19 billion merger with Capital Cities/ABC in 1995, ESPN wasn't even considered to be the main attraction. n analyst at Wunderlich Securities estimated last summer that Disney's 80% stake in ESPN was worth $40 billion.

That seems huge considering that Disney recently paid just a 10th of that for Lucasfilm Ltd., owner of the hugely successful "Star Wars" franchise, and around the same amount in 2009 for Marvel. Both will result not only in current and future movie revenue but profitable opportunities in TV programming, theme parks and interactive media. But ESPN, which has by far the highest affiliate fees of any cable channel, is a true money machine. It underpins Disney's valuation of 15.7 times forecast fiscal 2013 earnings. Although that is at a premium to the broader market, Disney's earnings are seen rising at a five-year compound annual rate of 16.4% through 2015. Wall Street Journal

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