Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/07/09 at 02:02 PM ET
from Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News,
More than two months after their contract ended, Versus and DirecTV remain at distribution loggerheads, their impasse showing no signs of subsiding.
However, a pair of external factors - negotiations toward a long-term expanded distribution package with Dish Network and the potential union of Comcast with NBC Universal - could exert pressures that facilitate a resolution.
Comcast’s national sports service has been off the No. 1 DBS provider’s air since their contract expired on Sept. 1. In the meantime, the parties have continued to negotiate a four-year deal, but remained locked in their stances over price and positioning, while Versus continues to ring up Nielsen advances.
The ratings amelioration has come without DirecTV’s 14 million-plus homes, as much of that subscriber loss has been made up by sneak previews on a number of cable operators and Dish Network, which has provided Versus a full berth of its homes. As such, Versus’ sub count has only declined to 71 million homes from 75 million, before the DirecTV drop.
The Dish free preview, though, is slated to end on Nov. 30. However, sources familiar with the negotiations indicate that Versus and Dish are moving toward a more permanent, expanded placement for the network.
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