Cable One, NBCU Reach Retrans, Carriage Deal

Cable One and NBC Universal said they have reached a carriage deal covering the programmer's cable networks and TV stations, avoiding a New Year's Eve blackout.

"NBCUniversal and Cable One are pleased to have reached an agreement for carriage of USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, Esquire Network, Oxygen, Sprout, Chiller, Cloo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, The Golf Channel, mun2, Telemundo and NBC, and Universal HD," NBCU said in a statement.  "This agreement confirms the value of the entire NBCUniversal portfolio.  NBCUniversal looks forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Cable One and ensuring that our loyal viewers will always have access to our valuable programming.”

The agreement avoided what could have been the second blackout of a major network group by Cable One this year. In April Viacom networks like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central went dark on Cable One, which counts about 475,000 video customers in 19 states. The new deal appears to include several NBCU channels that were not previously carried by the operator, such as  Cloo, Chiller, Esquire Network, and Universal HD.

Cable One has said publicly that it is downplaying video service in favor of broadband – its video customer rolls are down by about 15% since the third quarter of 2013. But it could have been encouraged to do a deal after its parent company Graham Holdings authorized its board of directors to spin off the Cable One assets into a separate publicly traded company, a deal that could be completed in 2015.