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Cablevision's Digital Plans Take Shape

9/09/2001 8:00 PM Eastern

Networks have started to secure spots on Cablevision Systems Corp.'s digital-cable platform as the MSO moves closer to launching the much-touted service later this month.

National Geographic Channel and Oxygen are two of several networks that have finalized agreements for digital carriage with Cablevision, sources said. Neither programmer's representatives would officially confirm any deals.

Other channels in the running include Lifetime Movie Network, MTV2 and Discovery Networks U.S.'s digital services, said industry sources.

A Cablevision spokesman would not comment on the matter, nor would he give a specific launch date for the digital platform.

Cablevision is one of the last MSOs to launch digital, and as slots on other operators' systems dwindle rapidly, network executives are aggressively pushing for Cablevision berths.

"We're hopeful," Lifetime Networks senior vice president of national distribution Jan Hatcher said. "Lifetime Movies is one of the few digital networks that's rated, so we're optimistic."

Along with several existing networks, Rainbow Media Holdings' Sterling Digital Media venture is developing virtual channels for parent Cablevision's digital platform to serve the "sub-niche" interests of hobbyists.

Cablevision will use Sony Corp. advanced digital set-tops — some of the most feature-rich boxes available — for its digital deployment.

 

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