LAS VEGAS – January 8, 2004 -- Local Channels to be Available in a Minimum of 130 Markets by Year-End Represents 92 Percent of U.S. TV Households
As part of its commitment to aggressively expand the number of markets where it offers local broadcast channels, DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading digital multichannel television provider, today announced the names of 18 new markets that will receive local channels via the DIRECTV(R) programming service this year.
The new cities, or designated market areas (DMAs), will join the previously announced markets to be rolled out following the successful launch of the DIRECTV 7S spot-beam satellite in mid-to-late first quarter and 64 markets where DIRECTV currently offers local broadcast channels. By year-end, DIRECTV will offer local channels in a minimum of 130 markets, representing 92 percent of U.S. television households. DIRECTV's goal is to begin the rollout of local-into-local service to these additional markets by early April 2004.
"This is an important next step toward our goal of expanding local channel coverage to more markets as quickly as possible," said Stephanie Campbell, senior vice president, Programming, DIRECTV, Inc. "Before the year is out, consumers in 130 markets across the country will have a complete cable replacement service -- great news for consumers, bad news for cable."
The 18 new DIRECTV local channel markets are:
Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Iowa
Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.
Fort Smith, Ark.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Johnson City, Tenn.-Bristol, Va./Tenn.-Kingsport, Tenn.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Traverse City, Mich.
To provide capacity for the new markets, upon authorization from the Federal Communications Commission, the DIRECTV 5 satellite will be moved into the Telesat-controlled orbital location of 72.5 degrees. Customers in these new markets, with the exception of Springfield-Holyoke, Mass., will be required to use a second 18-inch satellite dish to receive their local channels.
To fulfill their commitment to continue to expand local channel services in the next two to four years, News Corp. and DIRECTV plan to launch a series of advanced satellites to create additional capacity. DIRECTV 7S, the second spot-beam satellite in the DIRECTV fleet, will provide capacity for the launch of the previously announced markets at the 119-degree West Longitude orbital slot.
DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service
provider, with more than 12.2 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone
Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes
Electronics Corp. (NYSE:HS). Hughes is a world-leading provider of digital
multichannel television entertainment, broadband satellite networks and
services, and global video and data broadcasting. Hughes is 34 percent
owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned
by News Corporation Ltd.