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NFL Network, Charter Ink Carriage Deal

Move the markers: The NFL Network has scored its first cable distribution deal, with Charter Communications Inc.

The network, which launched in November, already has carriage on DirecTV-its exclusive out-of-market carrier-but landing cable deals has been more challenging, partly because the NFL Network is seeking broader distribution than thinly-distributed sports tiers.

On Charter, the network will live primarily on digital basic. Charter has a digital penetration slightly above the industry average of one-third penetration. The network is said to be getting a sizable license fee, about 20 cents per subscriber.

The NFL Network did have to offer up a few enhancements, like extensive VOD programming and a separate HD channel that will simulcast the linear channel.

"Up until now, the NFL [Network] really had the mindset of being a DirecTV service and this is a way of bucking the trend," said NFL Network’s affiliate sales chief Adam Shaw.

Charter will begin offering the channel next month.