The Comcast Media Center (CMC) and In Demand have been picked by Pac-12 Enterprises to work together to provision a broad range of technical distribution services for the Pac-12 Networks, the new collection of college sports networks that is slated to launch in August.
The Pac-12 Networks were announced in July of last year by the Pac-12 Conference, in conjunction with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and In Demand. Pac-12 Networks comprises one national and six regional nets.
"It's hard not to be impressed by the experience and expertise that In Demand and the Comcast Media Center have in delivering network distribution," said Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises. "We needed a partner that could help us manage the challenges that come with building seven networks. With all of their network distribution experience, particularly in sports, it really was an ideal fit for us."
For the Pac-12 Networks, the combined In Demand/CMC offering will provide distribution services for the seven linear networks, including hundreds of live sports events annually, plus other programming from the 12 colleges in the conference.
In addition, the two companies will provide a Free On Demand (FOD) package of content, including approximately 20 hours per month, plus a TV Everywhere platform. The infrastructure of their linear network technical distribution services will include fiber connectivity between the Pac-12 San Francisco studio, all 12 of its member universities and the CMC in Denver; master control origination services located at the CMC; compression and satellite front-haul services; satellite receiver authorizations; and disaster recovery. In Demand and the CMC will also provide staffing to run these technical operations.
"In Demand and Comcast Media Center have a proven history of outstanding collaborative work, conducted over the years by our engineering and network teams," said Richard Buchanan, vice president and general manager of content services for Comcast Media Center. "We are looking forward to putting the expertise of our combined capabilities to work for the Pac-12 Networks and affiliates."
In Demand and the Comcast Media Center have collaborated for the past 14 years on complex infrastructure offerings for multiple live sports and other PPV telecasts on behalf of their owners and cable clients. Last year, they finished a rebuild of their new HD live event environment and an MPEG-4 HD distribution platform. The CMC currently provides In Demand with an end-to-end content management solution for its channels, including multi-channel network origination, traffic management, sports origination and transmission.
Last week, CMC and In Demand announced that the latter’s VOD offerings are now available to cable operators via the CMC’s new Hits On Demand Content Distribution Network.