TIME WARNER CABLE OFFERING INSTANT REPEATS

Time Warner Cable has begun rolling out in New York a new service called "Start Over" that allows viewers who tune in late to a TV show to start over from the beginning. (Once restarted, the program can only be paused or rewound; it cannot be fast-forwarded, thus preventing viewers from skipping commercials.) The feature is only available while a show is on the air. In an interview with today's (Tuesday) New York Times, Howard Szarfarc, executive vice president for Time Warner Cable in New York, said that the program is ideal for people who "still sit on a couch and surf. ... It's a new level of customization and convenience." The company also sees the feature as a boon for viewers who don't own digital video recorders or who don't have the time to program them.

MOST WATCH TV ON COMPUTERS TO CATCH UP

The overwhelming majority of persons who watch television shows on their computer monitors do so to catch an episode they missed on TV, according to a study conducted by Nielsen Media Research for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing and reported by Broadcasting & Cable magazine. The survey of adult broadband users found that 35 percent of them have watched a TV show on the Internet. Of those, 87 percent said that they watched the shows on a network website. Nevertheless, 94 percent of those surveyed said that prefer watching television shows on their television sets.

NO LIVE COVERAGE OF MAJOR OLYMPIC CONTESTS ON THE WEB

Although NBC has said that it plans to provide 2,200 hours of live coverage of the Olympics online, none of the major events being shown on television will be shown on the Internet until after the telecasts, the Associated Press reported Monday. NBC has not indicated how long the delay will be. Tech Dirt, a blog that keeps a jaundiced eye on the efforts of traditional media to transition to the new, posted a comment taking NBC to task for "taking a very old-school approach -- meaning the Web is treated as a second-class citizen. ... So the only really 'live' content you'll see is the stuff that isn't particularly interesting."

CLOSE RATINGS RACE ON MONDAY

ABC and Fox ran neck-and-neck during the first two hours of primetime Monday night, with ABC scoring slightly higher in the overall ratings and Fox slightly higher in total viewers. ABC's strength came from the summer reality series The Bachelorette, while Fox relied on repeats of its regular season hits, Bones and House. CBS took over the lead at 10:00 p.m. with a rerun of CSI: Miami.

DID BRITISH NETWORK PAY RANSOM TO EXTREMIST GROUP?

Britain's Channel 4 may have paid a group associated with the Taliban $300,000 to secure the release of documentary producer Sean Langan, the BBC reported on its website today (Tuesday). Langan himself, who was working for the Channel 4 program Dispatches, has described the payment as "compensation." However, an unidentified Channel 4 source told the BBC that not know the details of what occurred to secure his release and that his comments could therefore be described as speculation. Negotiations between the broadcaster and the Afghan group were conducted privately, the BBC said, in the belief that bringing the foreign office -- comparable to the U.S. State Department -- into the discussions "could have hindered Langan's release." Langan had been held captive for three months.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.