Versus Loses 9 Million Homes
December 10, 2009
John Ourand writes for the Sports Business Daily that Versus lost exposure to 9 million homes due to the end of free previews on several cable and satellite providers on December 1st.
Versus’ distribution dropped by about 9 million homes December 1 when a free preview period with Dish Network, Time Warner Cable and Cox ended. Versus execs say they are negotiating with those distributors about getting moved back to the well-distributed tiers and are confident a deal can be worked out. “These free previews were a great opportunity to give millions of additional customers exposure to Versus’ premiere programming, and we’re currently in conversations with these TV providers to finalize a more permanent increased level of distribution for the network,” Versus said in an e-mail.
Versus gained the distribution September 1, immediately after DirecTV dropped the channel, when Dish, Time Warner Cable and Cox placed the net on a better-penetrated tier for a three-month free preview as an enticement to disenchanted DirecTV subscribers. Dish Network made up the bulk of the 9 million homes. It is not known how many subscribers signed up to Dish, Time Warner or Cox as a result of the three-month preview.
The pressure is once again mounting for Versus as these 9 million homes had largely worked to replace the 14 million (or 80% of DirecTV’s 18 million) they had lost in September. However, it should be noted that Comcast and DirecTV also have a series of negotiations looming in regards to several regional sports network properties whose contracts expire at the end of the year. Both entities should have ample incentive to finally come to the bargaining table with a deal in mind.
Obviously, from an MMA perspective, the WEC will lose out on those extra 9 million homes with its December 19th card. But as was mentioned last week, the WEC has re-upped with Versus, and there is the possibility that the organization could be part of a new sports network venture that might come out of the recent Comcast acquisition of NBCU.