NFL owners voted 30-1 to halt development of team-owned RSNs, a decision likely to have a profound impact on Comcast’s upstart Dallas Cowboys Net and its Atlanta-based FalconsVision. In exchange for ceding their right to form RSNs, NFL owners will reach local fans via NFL Net, effective immediately. As part of the agreement, teams will eventually be positioned to offer their games on demand. Thus far, only Comcast’s Philadelphia system has been allowed a VOD NFL play. Its "NFL on Demand" download service earned more than 2.5mln clicks right out of the gate. — "The owners looked at this and said, ‘Hey, there’s a better mousetrap. There’s a better financial model,’" an NFL rep said. Even Dallas and Atlanta owners-they voted with the majority, the league said. While turning to the NFL’s in-house TV organ will help ensure a uniform "message," FalconsVision and the Cowboys net ain’t dead yet. "The Atlanta and Dallas networks aren’t team-owned," NFL Net’s Seth Palansky says, meaning Comcast will help decide what’s next for both. The Falcons say the team will "play out the string" with Comcast, and fold its tent when its contract is up in 5 years. Comcast would confirm only that Atlanta and Dallas are "set to return with July training camp" … from there, the MSO would simply "see how things play out." — None of this is a big surprise-back in Oct the league asked for a moratorium on RSN development so owners could appraise the situation. At the time, the Tampa Bay Bucs were said to be interested in launching a standalone net, but the moratorium put the kibosh on it.

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DirecTV, DISH Merger Still Possible

AT&T found a way to offload a stake in its US video business, but this likely isn’t the end of the road for DirecTV. A combo with DISH is still possible.

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