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Leveraging Cable Company Carriage Deals

Multichannel News reports that cable operators already face an increasing array of wireless and wireline competitors offering TV services, but now they may face a new challenge � ironically, from within their own ranks.

In at least two recent cases, companies vying for a stake in the broadband-TV market have made moves to buy up small cable operators. Using those cable companies� carriage deals as a stepping stone, they are trying to put together Internet-delivered TV services that reach well beyond the footprint of their own systems � and compete with other cable operators across the country.

Companies, in at least two cases, have purchased cable operators as a means of getting into TV services delivered over the Web. In May, Titan Global Entertainment Inc. announced plans to acquire a small cable operator in Orme, Tenn. The Los Angeles-based company plans to use that system to launch a new service sending live TV to handheld players, it said.

Separately, eWAN 1 Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif., startup, bought a 36-channel cable-system operator in the Mojave Desert, to use as a base for a new Internet Protocol TV service. But what threat they pose to cable operators is still in question. These would-be Internet TV operators may face a buzzsaw of legal issues in moving content out-of-market, beyond existing geographic boundaries.

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