SBJ/December 18 - 24, 2006/This Weeks News

ESPN 360 x 2: AT&T rollout doubles distribution to 15M homes

AT&T rolled out ESPN’s broadband channel, ESPN 360, to nearly 8 million of its high-speed data customers last week — a move that doubles the fledgling service’s distribution to 15 million homes.

ESPN 360 is ESPN's broadband video channel

The deal is important for ESPN 360, which has had trouble getting traction among cable operators who have balked at the cost of the service. ESPN would not disclose the price it charges operators to carry the service.

ESPN 360 is a password-protected broadband service that cable and satellite operators make available to their high-speed subscribers for free. It streams highlights, commentary and clips from ESPN shows such as “PTI” via ESPN360.com. This year, it started showing college football and basketball games exclusively on the site.

So far, ESPN 360 has deals with Verizon, Charter, Mediacom and a handful of smaller cable operators.

The AT&T deal also gives the telephone company’s subscribers access to Disney’s other broadband services: Disney Connection, ABC News Now, SoapNetic and Movies.com Max.

Last week’s launch of Disney’s broadband properties was part of a larger deal that saw eight ESPN networks gain carriage on AT&T’s U-Verse television service: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD.

AT&T launched its television service in San Antonio in June. Last month, it rolled the service out to parts of Houston. Subscriber numbers for the service are not yet available.

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