The Big Ten Network will go live Aug 30, but the net still only has 75 carriage agreements with minor cable ops, covering roughly 500K subs. Pacts with AT&T and DirecTV add approx 3mln more, but all-important deals with major cable MSOs, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, have yet to hit the chalkboard. A $1.10 sub fee within the Big Ten Conference’s 8-state footprint and a desire for expanded basic carriage remain key sticking points, acknowledged net pres Mark Silverman. "It’s not that we’re unwilling to budge [on these issues]. No one is demanding," he said. "We’re looking for fees appropriate to what many RSNs go for." Other key issues on Silverman’s plate include hiring approx 50 additional employees, for a total of 90; improving and streamlining programming and production; and addressing myriad new media platforms. For instance, the net’s agreement with the conference allows for live streaming of the football games it carries.

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