DirecTV, Hicks Team Up on DirecPath

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Hicks Holdings LLC and DirecTV Inc. are partnering on a new company that will provide bundled programming from the direct-broadcast satellite provider, broadband voice and data services, security and other locally based services to multiple-dwelling units across the country, officials said Tuesday.

DirecTV will be an investor in the entity, DirecPath, which is being formed by Hicks Holdings, a Dallas family-owned private-investment enterprise headed by Thomas Hicks.

The new venture plans to offer a full range of bundled services to the MDU market -- including property owners and residents of high-rise condominiums, apartment complexes and gated communities -- all on a single bill.

“This new venture, backed by both Hicks Holdings and DirecTV, is a key part of DirecTV’s overall strategy to bring the best in programming content, technology and service to MDU owners and residents,” DirecTV sales and service president John Suranyi said in a prepared statement.

DirecPath plans to provide its own suite of services and, in some cases, it will pursue strategic partnerships to add other providers to the bundle.

The market for MDUs continues to expand for new technologies, and DirecPath is banking that this will help to drive the deployment of the full suite of DirecTV content, plus such advanced-service offerings as HDTV, digital-video recording, interactive services and other programming and services unique to the multifamily industry.

DirecPath will be headed by CEO Paul Savoldelli, a cable-industry veteran.

“The new venture will focus on meeting the unique needs of owners and residents in MDU communities nationwide,” said Thomas Hicks, chairman of Hicks Holdings. “We look forward to taking full advantage of this market’s enormous potential by offering the full range of DirecTV programming, plus other value-added services, to provide MDU owner/operators and, in turn, MDU residents with a unique and compelling value proposition.”

DirecTV continues to expand its sales and marketing efforts in the MDU market. The DBS provider recently developed and launched a new “single-wire” technology that provides the full array of DirecTV services, including DVR and HDTV, to MDU residents over existing wiring.

Savoldelli most recently served as CEO of Davivo Management Group, the company that oversees HM Capital Partners LLC’s cable operations in Latin America, including systems comprising about 2.4 million pay television and Internet subscribers in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.

He was also a co-founder of Optel Inc., the largest private cable operator at that time with 250,000 subscribers in California, Texas and Colorado before its 1995 sale to Le Groupe Vidéotron Ltée.

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