CSN Houston Wants Expanded-Basic Positioning on Suddenlink

Placement remains an obstacle in CSN Houston’s path to land a carriage deal with Suddenlink Communications.

The MSO evidenly has agreed to the RSN’s monthly subscriber fee, but wants to make it available on a sports tier on a select number of systems in the service’s TV territory. CSN Houston president and general manager Matt Hutchings said the RSN, a joint venture of the Rockets, MLB’s Houston Astros and Comcast’s NBC Sports Group, could be made available to Suddenlink customers immediately provided it was positioned on expanded basic.

Hutchings sent a letter to Suddenlink senior vice president and chief programming officer Patty McCaskill stating that he was “pleased” that the operator accepted the price, but wants expanded basic carriage for CSN Houston, the same placement the operator affords FS Southwest in Houston and to other RSNs around the nation.

Hutchings posted the letter he sent to McCaskill on the IwantCSNHouston area on the RSN's website.

The network has distribution on Comcast in parts of Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as Houston. Combined with deals with small providers, Coastal Link, Consolidated Communications, EnTouch and Phonoscope, CSN Houston has about 40% coverage in Houston, the nation’s 10th largest DMA with 2.2 million TV homes.  In addition to Suddenlink, Comcast CSN has yet to conclude distribution deals with DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse.

Sources indicate that CSN Houston has been asking for a monthly subscriber license fee of $3.40.

The Rockets are preparing for their first NBA playoff series in four years as they will meet the Oklahoma City Thunder, with CSN Houston airing game action and expansive support program around James Harden, Jeremy Lin and crew.