Comcast, Fox reach new terms on TV distribution

Posted: February 12, 2013

More than a month after its previous TV-distribution agreement expired, Comcast Corp. and News Corp. reached new terms that keeps Glee, Sons of Anarchy, The Simpsons, Bones and other Fox entertainment on Xfinity through 2020.

Economic terms were not disclosed but Philadelphia-based Comcast said today that it has agreed to launch a new national sports channel, to be called Fox Sports One, to its 22 million TV customers as part of the deal.

Fox Sports One will replace Fox's Speed cable channel, which is distributed to more than 80 million homes, later this year, according to published reports.

Fox has spent billions of dollars acquiring the TV rights to college football and major league baseball games as content for cable channels and broadcast TV stations.

Fox News was not part of the new distribution deal, though Comcast says it negotiated new-media rights that allow streaming of Fox News onto non-TV devices to bolster its "TV Everywhere" initiative.

The Comcast/Fox agreement - the prior one expired in early January - was announced one day before the pay-TV distributor releases fourth-quarter and full-year earnings for 2012. Analysts were sure to ask the status of the Fox talks in a conference call with Comcast executives.

The deal covers the cable networks FX, FX Movie Channel, Speed, Fuel, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, MundoFox, Fox Deportes, and Fox Business Network; 13 Fox TV stations, and Fox regional sports networks in Kansas City, Arkansas and New Mexico.

An additional dozen Fox regional sports networks were not part of the agreement.

Xfinity customers also can download Fox entertainment onto mobile devices under the terms of the agreement, Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said.

Comcast has now reached distribution agreements with CBS, the Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal.

"This agreement will bring Fox's brands and content to Xfinity TV customers on all platforms and we are excited to begin this journey with Comcast," said Mike Hopkins, president of distribution for Fox Networks.

"This multiplatform agreement includes extensive new media rights, including full current seasons of top Fox shows On Demand," Khoury said.

Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or or follow at Twitter @bobfernandez1.

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