Viacom, DirecTV ink carriage deal

MUMBAI: MTV parent Viacom Inc and recent Rupert Murdoch acquisition DirecTV on Wednesday signed a deal that ensures continued carriage of all MTV Networks' programme services currently carried by DirecTV.

The deal also provides for CBS analog broadcasts as well as CBS' high-definition Super Bowl coverage and its HDTV lineup in owned-and-operated markets. DirecTV will also continue to carry UPN analog broadcasts. MTV Networks' Nicktoons will be made available to viewers who subscribe to DirecTV's Total Choice Plus package.

The affiliation agreement allows for Viacom's MTV Networks services, including MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, TV Land, Spike TV, CMT, Noggin, VH1 Classic, MTV2 and Comedy Central as well as BET to continue to be available to DIRECTV subscribers nationwide, reports say.

Meanwhile, DirecTV on Wednesday also filed for permission with the Federal Communications Commission to move one of its satellites to an orbital slot controlled by Telesat Canada, a move that will allow it to offer US customers more local channels. The DirecTV 5 satellite would be moved into the Telesat-controlled orbital location of 72.5 degrees, once the DirecTV 7S satellite is launched later this quarter. This satellite will replace DirecTV 5 at 119 degrees, freeing up the latter to move to a new location. This will also allow DirecTV to expand local-into-local channel service to a minimum of 130 US markets by 2004 end, reports quote a company statement as saying.

The commitment for the expansion had been made to the FCC as part of the recent $6.78 billion acquisition by Murdoch's News Corp, the reports add. The broadcaster, which boasts more than 12 million subscribers, has said that its aim was to begin the rollout of local-into-local service to the additional markets by early April 2004.

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