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Blackbelt TV Pins First Affiliation Deal

Upstart martial-arts network Blackbelt TV announced a distribution deal with Comcast Corp. Thursday for both digital-cable and video-on-demand distribution.

The network -- which will feature martial-arts competitions, movies and classic series -- will have access to negotiate carriage arrangements with Comcast’s systems around the country, Blackbelt TV president Joshua Wexler said.

He added that the deal allows for both digital-cable and digital-tier carriage for its linear channel and includes a VOD component.

“We are proud to work with Comcast, the leading cable operator in the country, to bring Blackbelt TV, the biggest martial-arts cable network in the world, to more viewers,” he said.

Wexler said the network -- which has yet to set an official launch date -- is close to finalizing several other deals, but he would not provide specific details.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.