SBD/November 7, 2012/Media

CSN Houston Buys Ad In Chronicle To Address Carriage Issue

CSN Houston takes out newspaper ad to address carriage disputes
Comcast SportsNet Houston “paid for a half-page advertisement” that appeared in last Sunday’s Houston Chronicle in which network President & GM Matt Hutchings wanted to “address impatient viewers,” according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Hutchings wrote, “Along with the Rockets and the Astros, we at NBC Sports are hard at work negotiating with additional cable, satellite and other providers. We recognize negotiations are taking longer than anyone would like.” Barron noted the name Comcast SportsNet, which “precedes Comcast’s acquisition of a majority interest in NBC Universal, has led many people to presume that NBC is trying to squeeze out other providers in an effort to force viewers to switch to Comcast cable.” But company officials “insist this is not the case; thus, the NBC reference.” Hutchings’ letter also “asked fans to use social media and the company’s website to let carriers know they want access to CSN Houston.” CSN Houston is carried on Comcast, Phonoscope and a “handful of other providers,” but the net has “not been able to reach deals with Verizon or AT&T, DirecTV or Dish.” Meanwhile, it is “amusing to note that AT&T is advertising its U-verse service during Rockets games on CSN Houston.” Barron: “The irony of the matter, of course, is that if you sign up with U-verse, you won’t be able, at least for the moment, to watch Rockets games any more” (CHRON.com, 11/5). 

IF A TREE FALLS....: Barron yesterday noted it is “pretty clear” from the CSN Houston ratings that the “lack of availability on satellite and telco carriers and some cable systems is taking a serious bite out of the audience" for Rockets games. The Rockets-Hawks game on Friday “averaged a 1.0 Nielsen rating, which equates to about 22,500 households, for the entire market of 2.2 million TV households.” CSN Houston is “available in an estimated 40 percent of the market.” Meanwhile, the Heat-Knicks game Friday on ESPN, which “has full satellite and cable carriage, averaged a 1.4 household rating in Houston, or about 30,500 households" (CHRON.com, 11/6).
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