Hey AP, forget Google, think eBay

For a minute there I thought the Associated Press might have a good idea. In an interview with BusinessWeek posted today, AP CEO Tom Curley said the news agency was planning to create its own news portal to compete with Google News, which the AP accuses, along with other aggregators, of “misappropriating” its content. Google News is a far-from perfect tool and there’s certainly room in the market for someone who does news search better.

But then I saw this:

With streaming, media congloms try to figure out which side they're on

The presidents of six cable network owners shared a panel at the Cable Show in Washington Wednesday and split 3-3 on whether streaming full-length episodes of their original series for free online is a good idea. Rich Battista of Fox Cable Networks Group, Bonnie Hammer of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Van Toffler of MTV Networks came out in favor. Josh Sapan of Rainbow Media, Steve Koonin of Turner and Scripps Networks president John Lansing were all opposed.

One likely reason for the split: Fox and NBC-Uni jointly own Hulu, the site from which most full-length TV episodes are streamed, while MTV’s parent company, Viacom, is in litigation against Hulu’s main rival, YouTube. Turner, Scripps and Rainbow Media, on the other hand, are mostly programmers, with little in the way of platform strategies.

Another reason: Fox and NBC-Uni cable networks share a corporate roof with broadcast networks, which have been far more generous than cable nets in making their programming available online. Scripps, Turner and Rainbow are cable-only.

Boxee vs. Comcast: An authentic dispute

Marketing VP Marty Roberts of thePlatform, which is owned by Comcast, spoke proudly during the final session of the McGraw Hill Media Summit Thursday of the work his company is doing to find ways to let cable subscribers access the same premium content they get on their TV from the Internet.

“We’re investing a lot of time and money studying things like Open Social, which lets you bring your online identity with you as you go to different Web sites or different networks, to see if there’s a way we could do that for your cable identity, so your cable rights would go with you as you access different Web sites,” he said. “So, you might have HBO rights and could access that content online, someone else might have Showtime rights, or sports.”

The effort is part of a plan by cable operators and networks to protect their core subscription business by restricting online access to premium pay-TV content to paying cable or satellite subscribers using some form of online authentication.

Boxee co-founder and CEO Avner Ronen wasn’t impressed.