Fine Living, G4 Make MSO Inroads


Two fledgling networks, Fine Living and G4, last week unveiled new carriage deals with such major MSOs as Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc.

And start-up Moviewatch landed its first cable affiliation deal, closing a contract with the National Cable Television Cooperative.

Fine Living and its sister Scripps Networks channel, DIY: Do It Yourself Network, completed a carriage agreement with Comcast. But terms of the pact weren't disclosed, so it's not known how many of the MSO's 20 million homes will actually get the network.

Fine Living, which debuted nearly a year ago, now has affiliation agreements with not only Comcast but Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Inc. and the NCTC. Fine Living and DIY are currently in 13 million homes apiece.

G4 adds Cox

G4, the video-gaming network owned by Comcast, will launch on Cox's Orange County, Calif., system early this year as part of a carriage agreement with the Atlanta-based MSO, network officials said last week. G4 will also continue to roll out this year on Mediacom Communications Corp. systems as they upgrade to digital, according to Deb Green, G4's chief operating officer.

Under a corporate affiliation deal, Cox added G4 to digital on its San Diego system back in late October, adding 170,000 subscribers to the network's distribution. The next Cox rollout is in Orange County, Calif., a system that has more than 100,000 subscribers, Green said. G4 is working with Cox on additional launches, she added.

After reaching an affiliation deal with G4, Mediacom started to add the network to its systems last November, said Green. It is now in about 170,000 of Mediacom's homes, she said.

At the end of last year, G4 was in just over 9 million homes, with commitments to take carriage to 12 million subscribers by the end of this year. In addition to Cox and Mediacom, G4 has carriage agreements with Insight Communications Co., Comcast and Time Warner.

Moviewatch deal

For Moviewatch, slated to launch at midyear, the NCTC agreement is essentially a hunting license to seek inclusion in the digital packages of the cooperative's members, small systems representing 14.5 million subscribers.

Moviewatch, which will offer original programming about movies, already has a carriage deal with DirecTV Inc. that will put it in 11 million homes. With the NCTC deal, Moviewatch president Rod Perth estimated that his network will be in at least 12 million to 13 million homes when it debuts.

DirecTV was to launch the service on Jan. 21, but that premiere was pushed back so the network can try and line up more subscribers, according to Perth.

"We're well on our way to gaining the distribution we need to launch," he said.

Fine Living announced its Comcast deal at the Television Critics Association tour in Los Angeles, where the network also talked about several new series and specials it will launch as part of a rebranding of its primetime lineup.

Starting Jan. 27, the network will develop theme nights based on its trademark lifestyle categories. Mondays will feature programming around "Favorite Things" or quality of life programming; Tuesdays will be dubbed "Personal Space" for shows related to the home or workspace; Wednesdays are "Every Day", dedicated to skeins that help balance work and play; Thursdays will focus on "Adventure" programming; and Fridays will feature "Transport" shows targeting travel.

One of the new shows set to help launch the theme nights is Sheila Bridges: Designer Living ,
a 30-minute series featuring the renowned interior designer that's set to premiere Jan. 28.