SBD/March 5, 2014/Media

Longhorn Network Hopes Dish Network Deal Will Accelerate Talks With DirecTV

The announcement Monday that Longhorn Network will be available on Dish Network has "brought about more questions than answers," according to Brian Davis of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The No. 1 question generated by the deal is "when will Longhorn Network get on DirecTV?" Right now, that is "unclear." ESPN Senior VP/Programming Justin Connolly said, "I don't know exactly how DirecTV feels about us, but if nothing else, it certainly sends a sign that there's buy-in with the second-largest satellite, third-largest provider nationally, for these networks." ESPN officials "couldn't pinpoint a specific date" when LHN will debut on Dish, but they said that it would be "later this summer." Davis noted it "could coincide with the debut of the SEC Network, which is scheduled to go live in August." The deal with Dish "absolutely" legitimizes LHN. It is "one thing to be picked up by Grande Communications, and it was a huge boost to get on Time Warner Cable." But landing on "the nation's second-largest satellite distributor is a game-changer for ESPN." Meanwhile, Davis wondered if new Texas football coach Charlie Strong will "give LHN the same access Mack Brown did." That is "an unknown." One of the "most fascinating shows on LHN is Texas All-Access." It is a "complete behind-the-scenes look at the Texas program on a weekly basis." Davis: "Will Strong let ESPN's cameras have the same access? Right now, even ESPN people can't say for sure" (STATESMAN.com, 3/4).

DEAL ME IN: In N.Y., Claire Atkinson writes the future of TV viewing "is coming into view -- and it’s all about streaming." The Disney-Dish deal "had the media world buzzing" yesterday, as it "promises to take a Netflix-like service to current sports, entertainment and movies" (N.Y. POST, 3/5). CBS President & CEO Les Moonves said that the Disney-Dish agreement to "address concerns over Dish's ad-skipping technology was 'a great start' but not enough to satisfy CBS." He said that CBS' carriage deal with Dish "expires this year, and he expects to take a different approach than Disney in the negotiations" (WSJ.com, 3/4).
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