Cable’s launch this week of NFL game highlights on VOD could be an answer to DirecTV’s exclusive rights to NFL games known as "Sunday Ticket." But cable’s not out of the running for Ticket’s rights, set to expire at the end of the ’05 season. "We think the relationship we’re developing has positive ramifications for the entire partnership between the NFL and Comcast, and not just for Sunday Ticket," NFL commish Paul Tagliabue said at a press conference to tout the new VOD offering. "We’re looking at other packages in the future that could involve cable distribution." Comcast chief Brian Roberts sounded very interested in Ticket, but naturally stayed on message, emphasizing the VOD clips as a differentiating factor. Unlike Ticket, the 10-min highlights from each NFL game are "not a premium product that you have to pay $200/year for," Roberts said. The highlights are available for 1 week after the games air live. Comcast says it logged 50K orders for Thurs night’s Patriots-Colts game in just 2 days, already making them among the MSO’s Top 5 VOD programs ever. The MSO launched on-demand offerings for Sun’s games yesterday. Insight says it hasn’t launched the VOD offering, but wants to ASAP. Charter posted the weekly highlights last night. — Bristol Bug: While conceding the league didn’t create NFL Net to show live games, Tagliabue said based on the Net’s popularity, it’s a possibility. "We’re taking it a season at a time," he said. "The long-term vision is hard to see."

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Flying High with ‘Tuca and Bertie’

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