ESPNU’s nationwide rollout on Time Warner Cable’s digital basic roster is gathering steam, with the channel adding about 1 million customers in New York and New Jersey on Aug. 30 and other systems, including Los Angeles and Central Ohio, on Aug. 31 as part of a corporate affiliate deal Time Warner reached with ESPN parent Walt Disney Co. in April.
ESPNU expects to add about 10 million customers from Time Warner overall, raising its total to about 20 million, ESPN officials said at an Aug. 20 press briefing here.
Major distributors still to be inked include Comcast and Cablevision Systems, Disney and ESPN Media Networks executive VP of affiliate sales and marketing David Preschlack said.
Time Warner and affiliated systems coming or already in the fold include “very prime college sports markets” such as New England and Central Florida (through Bright House Networks), Preschlack said.
The digital basic carriage was secured as part of the omnibus deal in April, which set ESPNU apart from such rivals as CBS-owned CSTV, which is carried on a sports tier.
Barbara Kelly, senior vice president and general manager of Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey, said there are always discussions about whether CSTV or other networks could migrate from the tier, but she also said the tier was priced attractively at $1.95 extra.
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