NBCU, Co-Op Strike a Deal


Lenexa, Kan.— The National Cable Television Cooperative last week plugged a major hole in its distribution roster, securing a master-affiliation agreement with NBC Universal Cable that includes USA Network, the top-ranked ad-supported cable service.

The pact, terms of which were not disclosed, also encompasses Universal HD, fledgling mystery service Sleuth and Mun2, the bilingual service aimed at young Latino adults.

The NCTC — which secures programming and hardware deals for more than 1,100 independent cable operators, reaching some 8 million U.S. subscribers — already had agreements in place for additional NBCU cable services such as Sci Fi Channel, CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo.

The master-affiliation agreement negotiated by the NCTC will give members of the co-op a chance to opt into that deal. In the past, the members had to negotiate their own contracts with USA.

“We are excited to offer our members a master-affiliation agreement with USA Network, Universal HD, Mun2 and Sleuth,” NCTC senior vice president of programming Frank Hughes said in a statement.

“USA Network was one of the last of the major networks not to be under an NCTC agreement, and it was the most-requested network by members,” he added. “When the NBC Universal team stepped up to the table, collectively, we crafted an agreement that brings savings to our members and operational efficiencies to NBC Universal.”