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HDTV Nets Are In Demand

In Demand’s ownership base has proven beneficial to its efforts to gain
distribution for its new HDTV channels, sources said last week.

Co-owners Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable, along
with Bright House Networks, have committed to carrying the channels at launch,
although it’s unclear whether the linear channels would appear as part of the
MSOs’ digital-basic packages or on HDTV-based pay tiers, according to sources
close to the situation.

Where possible, the three MSOs will carry a preview feed of the HDTV
channels, which start Monday.

The carriage deals would help shore up HDTV’s content base. Home Box Office
and Showtime offer much of their schedule in HDTV, and Starz! is slated to join
its premium brethren by year-end.

Discovery Networks U.S. and ESPN have launched HDTV tiers to varying degrees
of carriage success. Bravo is about to launch a service July 31, while Mark
Cuban’s HDNet services have gained some carriage from Charter Communications

Cable operators are also carrying local broadcast stations’ HDTV feeds
free-of-charge, depending on market-by-market distribution