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TMCNet:  Another cable provider picks up Longhorn Network

[December 31, 2012]

Another cable provider picks up Longhorn Network

Dec 31, 2012 (Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Thousands more University of Texas fans are set to gain access to the Longhorn Network this year.

Charter Communications, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, announced Monday that it will make the ESPN-operated cable network available to many of its subscribers by the time the University of Texas kicks off its 2013 football season this fall.

LHN has broadcast rights to hundreds of UT sporting events, including a handful of football games. In 2012, matchups against Wyoming, New Mexico and Iowa State aired exclusively on LHN.

In Texas, Charter reports it had about 167,000 customers as of June 30, 2012, primarily in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas. The company doesn't serve Central Texas.

Nationwide, Charter has about 5.3 million subscribers in 25 states, but plans call for Austin-based LHN to be available only on its cable systems in Texas, Louisiana and Virginia.

The deal with the Walt Disney Co., which owns ESPN, also covers a number of other well-known cable networks, including ABC Family and the Disney Channel, making them available to customers on their computers, tablets, TV sets and smartphones in many cases.

"More and more content is being enjoyed on tablets and other Internet-connected devices, and today's viewers are sharing their TV experiences in new ways," Allan Singer, Charter's senior vice president of programming, said in the company's announcement. "Our agreement with Disney enables more robust ways to enjoy and socialize TV." Charter is the latest addition to a growing list of cable providers airing LHN. Cox Communications, the No. 3 cable company in the United States, picked up the channel in mid-December. Cox Communications is a division of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, which is the parent company of the American-Statesman.

AT&T; U-verse, Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS and San Marcos-based Grande Communications carry LHN, as well. AT&T; and Grande both serve portions of the Austin area.

"Our agreement with Charter represents the sixth top 10 distributor renewal encompassing Disney's full suite of products and services," said David Preschlack, a Disney & ESPN Networks Group executive vice president.

Time Warner Cable, the region's largest cable provider, has yet to reach a deal to carry LHN, which launched in late 2011. Neither have Dish Network and DirecTV.

___ (c)2012 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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