Adding to a string of recent MSO deals, Sundance Channel
has reached corporate-carriage agreements with MediaOne and Jones Intercable Inc., giving
the network access to the key markets of Boston and Washington, D.C., officials said last
MediaOne will launch Sundance throughout the Northeast,
including the Greater Boston area, in the second half of the year. And Jones has already
rolled out the network in a number of markets, including Fort Myer-Alexandria, Va.;
Chesapeake Bay, Va.-Anne Arundel, Md.; Independence, Mo.; Savannah, Ga.; and Celebration,
Fla., according to Tom Christie, the network's senior vice president of sales and
Sundance is eager for the chance to be launched in Boston
and outside of Washington, he added.
"Those are both terrific markets for independent
films," Christie said.
MediaOne will have Sundance in front of 500,000 basic homes
in its Northeast division between late July and early August, Christie said. And during
the next 12 to 18 months, the MSO is slated to offer Sundance in the rest of its Northeast
systems, which are undergoing rebuilds and which account for another 700,000 homes.
Earlier this year, Sundance -- a joint venture of
actor-director Robert Redford, Showtime Networks Inc. and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment --
reached corporate-carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable and Century Communications
Sundance has also gained part-time distribution, on
Sundays, in an unusual, pay-per-view-type agreement on Time Warner's system in
Manhattan, N.Y. So Sundance is available in New York on Time Warner -- on a daily, monthly
or yearly subscription basis -- and in Los Angeles via the Century deal, representing two
additional strong indie-film markets.
MediaOne reportedly plans to offer Sundance as an add-on to
premium service, at a price ranging anywhere from $1.95 per month to free, depending on
the level of service that the subscriber is getting.
Jones has been offering Sundance a la carte or as a
low-cost add-on for multipremium homes. Christie estimated that Sundance has gained
"a few-thousand subscribers" with its Jones launches to date.
The network, which has nearly 4 million subscribers,
originally marketed itself as a mini-pay. But it began to alter that approach last year,
angling to be placed on new-product tiers rather than being offered just as a premium
service, which is the way that MediaOne and Jones are or will be offering it.
"Sundance continues to be used on the mini-pay format
or on NPTs," Christie said. "NPTs obviously carry better penetration, but we
don't turn down the opportunity to be part of a major MSO's premium plans."
With its most recent carriage deals, Sundance will be in
front of 13 million homes.
"Sundance Channel, by airing the world's best new
independent films, can help to satisfy the entertainment tastes of our current
subscribers, as well as to attract new subscribers to the fold," said Jedd Palmer,
MediaOne's senior vice president of programming, in a prepared statement.