Smithsonian Channel Inks Charter, FiOS TV Carriage Pacts

Smithsonian Channel said it boosted the number of homes that can get the network to about 22 million through two new carriage deals, including its first big cable carriage agreement.

Charter Communications and Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV service will carry both the channel and its companion Smithsonian On Demand video-on-demand service, according to an announcement Monday.

Smithsonian Channel, a co-venture of the Smithsonian Institution and Showtime Networks, launched Sept. 26 and had been in 15 million DirecTV homes. 

Bend, Ore.-based BendBroadband also signed a carriage deal with the channel and launched it earlier this year, according to VP of Business Operations John Farwell.

Charter adds another 5 million or so cable homes and FiOS TV approximately 800,000 more for its telco video service.

After some initial difficulty getting operators to pay to carry the premium product, Showtime signed the deal with DirecTV to carry Smithsonian Channel on its HD Xtra Pack.

“We’re very excited to be working with our new partners and thrilled that they share our desire to provide their customers the best in high-definition programming from one of the best-known brand names with Smithsonian Channel,” said Tom Hayden, executive vice president and general manager for Smithsonian Networks, in a statement. “This is great progress for the channel and we look forward to announcing other distribution agreements over the next few months.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.