NBC Repackages Sports for Multicast Channels

Affiliates will get time sales in the feed...

NBC intends to expand its Universal Sports feed, a diginet packed with archived events of all ilk. TV Weekreports the network intends to roll out Universal Sports to its affiliates in the coming year to fill a multicast channel. The channel could become available to as many as 30 million homes.

The sports diginet is already carried by NBC’s 10 O&Os. An estimated 9 million or so homes in those markets get TV exclusively over the air, but not all of them digitally.

NBC was one of the first networks out of the gate with multicasting options, launching Weather Plus about five years ago. Weather Plus is a simple, ongoing feed of regular, commercially sponsored weather programming framed by a location-and-temperatures template. Weather Plus is still playing on KBNC-TV in Los Angeles (and NBC O&O), but it’s being phased out in the wake of NBC’s purchase of the Weather Channel.

NBC is gravid with sports content following the Summer Olympic Games and its 5,000 or so hours of coverage. Universal Sports gives the network another opportunity to draw a little more revenue out of the Games. Universal Sports will be free to affiliates through 2011, with slots for local time sales and programming, as long as they secure cable carriage by the end of January. - TVB Staff