Pac-12 Puts Cable Game Plan in Motion

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With the kickoff of its ambitious
seven-channel launch just a little
more than two months away, Pac-12
Enterprises has firmed up its technological
support roster and opened up
its marketing strategy rooted in multiplatform
content.

The group said last week that In Demand
will team with Comcast Media
Center to provide Pac-12 networks with
an array of technical support services,
including expansive TV Everywhere
and video-on-demand plans coming
out of the gate.

The Pac-12 Conference, in an unprecedented
push, will launch seven
channels — a national feed, as well six
regional networks mapping the conference
footprint. Content includes
football, basketball and myriad
Olympic sports that member schools
are renowned for in the U.S.

Pac-12 Enterprises is the new content
and multiplatform media company for the
Pac-12 Conference representing 12 universities
that have captured 450 NCAA titles
across 27 sports. It is the parent of the
Pac-12 Networks (TV) and Pac-12 Digital (online, social media).

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks
and Cox Communications, co-owners of In Demand, have
all made distribution commitments to the TV services that
together will total 40 million homes. An enhanced, authenticated
broadband off ering
is also being put into play.

Gary Stevenson, president
of Pac-12 Enterprises,
said conversations with distributors
have yet to yield
any agreements, but replied
“absolutely” when asked if
other carriers would be on
board when the networks
debut in mid-August.

The Pac-12 Networks’ distribution
game plan calls
for expanded basic carriage
within the home markets
for the six RSNs and digitalbasic
positioning for those
networks and the national
service within the conference’s six-state footprint.

Beyond the conference territory, the Pac-12 will be looking
for carriage for all seven services, perhaps on sports
tiers. Sources familiar with the talks indicate that Pac-12
Networks is seeking a monthly license fee of between 90
cents and $1 within conference
markets, and as much
as 50 cents in other areas.
Stevenson declined to discuss
rate-card specifics.

Stevenson said that
while Pac-12 Networks
“over the next two months
will be working on producing
classic games and
preview shows,” its freshman-
year focus is “eventcentric.”

“We’re going to have 850
live events, plus we have
re-air rights to the games
that air nationally on Fox
and ESPN,” Stevenson said.
“So there is going to be a lot of event
focus.”

He said that during the upcoming
football season, Pac-12 Networks
would have the top or second choice
of games in seven of 13 weeks. The
initial wave of football contests, Stevenson
said last Thursday, is expected
to be announced over the next
seven to 10 days, while details of the
schedule for fall sports may be divulged
on June 15.

Consumer marketing will begin to
manifest at that time, “before ramping
up as we approach August 15,” he
said.

In Demand president Bob Benya
said Pac-12 Networks, working with
online video management firm Ooyala,
would be “all in” from the outset
on computers, tablets, connected
TVs and smartphones, whether on
Apple or Android-based operating
systems. Subscribers to Pac-12 Networks
will be able to watch live content
on connected devices via TV
Everywhere authentication when
the services begin on Aug. 15.

Viewers can customize apps to
create a personalized content experience specific to their
favorite Pac-12 teams, sports and related content — including
statistics, press conferences and documentaries
— that extends beyond the telecasts.

As for video-on-demand, Benya said he expects the
product to be “one package, mostly the best of the national
feed. We’ll do the encoding and the 20 hours of free-ondemand
will be refreshed every month,” he said.

In addition to VOD and TV Everywhere, In Demand and
the CMC, a subsidiary of Comcast Cable, will provide network-
distribution services. The infrastructure of their linear
networks will be grounded through fiber connectivity
between the Pac-12 studio in San Francisco, which will be
completed on July 9, plus all 12 of its member universities
and the CMC in Denver.

“This fiber connectivity between the 12 schools, the
state-of-the-art Pac-12 studio in San Francisco and the
CMC is a technical structure that I believe is unique to
the industry,” Benya said.

Benya added, “Working with the Pac-12 Networks is a
natural extension of what we can do. We have a massive
infrastructure that can provide reliable and quality services,
more efficiently, for new and existing networks.”

7-PACK

The Pac-12 will launch a national
network and six regional channels:

LOCATION / SCHOOL

Northern California (Stanford, California)

Southern California (USC, UCLA)

Oregon (Oregon State, Oregon)

Washington (Washington State, Washington)

Arizona (Arizona State, Arizona)

Mountain (Utah, Colorado)

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