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AT&T Adds MTVN, BET to U-verse

AT&T added two more big programming stars to its growing U-verse television service, announcing carriage deals with MTV Networks and BET Networks.

Under the distribution agreement, AT&T’s U-verse service will carry both programmers’ linear, HD, on-demand and digital-music-channel lineups on U-verse, which is now in commercial launch in San Antonio.

This marks the latest in a string of programming deals for U-verse, including pacts with NFL Network and Discovery Networks U.S. announced in the past week.

Financial terms of the MTVN and BET deal were not released, but it will supply U-verse with linear channels including Black Entertainment Television, BET J, BET Gospel, CMT, CMT Pure Country, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV Español, Nickelodeon, Nick2, Nicktoons, Nick GAS, Noggin, The N, Spike TV, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and VH Uno.

Also headed to U-verse are MTV’s recently launched HD channel, MHD; ethnic channels MTV Chi, MTV Desi and MTV K; and Urge, the programmer’s new digital-audio service.

In addition, on-demand content from MTVN and BET will be offered as part of U-verse’s Free On Demand service.

Last week, MTVN also struck a deal with Cingular Wireless to provide broadband content to its wireless customers. AT&T has a 60% ownership stake in Cingular, so with that and the U-verse deal, MTVN has a content presence across AT&T’s consumer-service platforms.

“MTV Networks and BET Networks are dedicated to bringing our audiences the content they are passionate about,” MTVN president of affiliate sales and marketing Nicole Browning said. “As AT&T U-verse TV develops new platforms to provide an advanced and personalized entertainment experience for consumers, we are delighted to partner with them to deliver our strong brands and services and further diversify our customer footprint.”

Meanwhile, AT&T’s U-verse footprint is also set to expand, with plans to roll the service out to 20 additional markets by the end of the year. The regional Bell operating company’s goal is to reach 19 million homes by the end of 2008.