AT&T adds U-T San Diego to its U-verse TV channel lineup

U-verse subscribers get access to university's sports content
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AT&T (NYSE: T) on Friday added the U-T San Diego local sports channel to its U-verse TV line up, illustrating the desire that consumers have for local content.

Eligible standard and HDTV U-verse subscribers will be able to access the college's content, including live news and related content, on Channel 17 and Channel 1017, respectively.

Besides AT&T, Cox Communications began offering U-T San Diego TV on Channel 114 for its digital cable subscribers beginning in July. The service is also available on the web via utsandiego.com/tv/watch-live/.

AT&T has not revealed how many subscribers it has in the San Diego area. While Cox said it has about 500,000 video subscribers in the region, not all of them subscribe to the digital programming package needed to access U-T TV.

As of the end of Q3 2012, AT&T reported it added almost 200,000 new U-verse TV subscribers, ending the quarter with a total of 7.4 million total U-verse subscribers (both TV and broadband Internet).  

"For U-T TV, it increases our footprint in the San Diego marketplace," said U-T San Diego President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Hodges. "It gets U-T TV into more homes because of the fact that you can get U-verse in any home" in San Diego County.

Hodges added that the university is holding discussions with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) in addition to satellite providers DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) to carry their programming.

While having national content and a wide array of movie titles is important, this agreement illustrates the importance of having local content, especially for telcos that are still relatively new to the TV game like AT&T. Being able to carry the local university's games also allows AT&T to create an even greater bond with their subscribers in the San Diego community and remain on par with Cox and other established cable MSOs.

For more:
- U-T San Diego has this article

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