DirecTv Inc. last week announced its first deal to allow a
wireless cable operator to market the direct-broadcast satellite company's
programming to single-family homes.
Dallas-based Heartland Wireless Communications Inc. has
signed a multiyear marketing agreement that allows the operator to offer DirecTv's
185-channel service to single-family homes in the areas that it serves. Heartland will
also provide local signals.
The deal is an extension of a pact signed several months
ago that allows Heartland to market DirecTv programming to multiple-dwelling-unit
subscribers in its territories.
"We are extremely excited about the possibilities for
broadening our market segments through this continuing alliance," said Carroll D.
McHenry, chairman and CEO of Heartland, in a statement.
DirecTv has been aggressive in its attempt to increase
distribution of Digital Satellite System hardware beyond the traditional retail base. The
company is broadening its MDU-system operator base, and it has signed high-profile
marketing and distribution agreements with telephone companies such as GTE Corp., Bell
Atlantic Corp. and SBC Communications Inc.
Last week's deal with Heartland gives DirecTv a more
visible presence in small to midsized markets where local cable operators may not have the
channel capacity to compete.
"We believe that these new programming options will be
attractive to customers in all of Heartland's markets," McHenry said, "but
it will most significantly impact markets where, until now, we have been unable to secure
adequate channel capacity."
DirecTv also said last week that it has teamed up with
Cleveland-based Popvision, a division of CS Wireless Systems Inc., to deliver DirecTv
programming to the largest apartment community in the country -- Gates Mills Towers, a
1,077-unit complex in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
Popvision will also deliver local-broadcast channels to
subscribers who sign up for DirecTv service. It will lease DSS receivers to subscribers
for $5 per month. Programming prices for DirecTv's packages match those for
subscribers in single-family homes across the country.