ESPN decided not to renew a deal to use Comcast Corp.’s Headend In The Sky platform to distribute pay-per-view content, opting for its own satellite transponder to distribute programming such as “ESPN Full Court” to cable affiliates.
The decision follows recent moves by ESPN to sever ties with PPV distributors In Demand and TVN Entertainment Inc.
“It’s consistent with our strategy of going direct to our affiliates with our pay-per-view product,” said ESPN vice president of national accounts David Preschlek.
The HITS agreement expired on March 31.
ESPN used the HITS 6 transponder to distribute PPV content including “GamePlan” college football and “College Grand Slam” baseball.
Programmers typically pay the Comcast Media Center $30,000 to $60,000 per month for each digital-cable network distributed via HITS, in addition to a penny per subscriber for each network, the source said.
CMC vice president of sales and marketing Leslie Russell said no other networks have told Comcast that they plan to leave HITS.
ESPN will now distribute its PPV content on Galaxy 10, transponder 21, Preschlek said.
ESPN has used that transponder, also known as the “Bristol pod,” since the summer of 2002.