Many nets have suddenly found themselves dropped to a less distributed tier—ask NFL Net or Voom as both are suing DISH over such moves. But Outdoor Channel recently experienced the opposite. Since Oct ’07, DirecTV has been carrying Outdoor on its "Total Choice Plus" package, a more widely distributed tier than its agreement with the net allowed, according to an SEC filing Fri from Outdoor. DirecTV’s placement of the net came to light during ongoing negotiations for the renewal and extension of their carriage agreement, the filing said. Outdoor declined to comment, and DirecTV did not return calls by deadline. The satellite provider has recently modified carriage of Outdoor, reportedly moving it back to its $10/month sports tier, according to DirecTV subs. Subscribers were told that the "free preview" period for the channel had ended. "Although the Nielsen Media Research estimated number of HHs receiving Outdoor Channel has not increased significantly since Oct ’07, the company is unable to ensure that there will be no decrease in Nielsen’s estimated number of HHs receiving Outdoor Channel in the future as a result of this recent modification of carriage by DirecTV," Outdoor said in its 8-K filing. Outdoor, which is in about 31mln homes, has been working hard over the past year on renewal deals—including avoiding sports tier placements. As an incentive for better penetration, it has significantly slashed sub fees. As of Mar, distribution agreements with 4 major service providers, accounting for approx 50% of its sub base, had expired, according to an SEC filing. It reupped in Apr with Charter, which has about 10% of its sub base. Negotiations continue with those providers, including DirecTV. Outdoor has renewed some agreements for a short period or on a month-to-month basis as talks continue. Under previous management, Outdoor launched a public campaign and spent $200K+ after Time Warner Cable threatened to drop it or move it to a sports tier. Negotiations have been much quieter in recent years though. In Sept, Outdoor hired former Tennis Channel distribution chief Randy Brown to lead affil sales.

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