Booming Box adds Comcast affil pact

500,000 new subs tune in to vid music channel

The Box signed a new affiliate agreement with Comcast Corp., which will add 500,000 additional subscribers in Philadelphia and Union, N.J., to the video music channel.

After stagnating for years at 4 million cable subscribers, the Box has gained distribution momentum lately.

The Box currently has more than 6 million cable subscribers and plans to finish 1998 with 10 million, said Gabriel Berger, VP of affiliate sales for the Miami Beach-based firm.

Another deal in works

Berger added that he planned to close another affiliate agreement with a major MSO in the next several days.

In addition to a 3 million subscriber rollout commitment from Tele-Communications Inc. — the Box is owned by TCI Mu-sic, a public company controlled by TCI’s Liberty Media Corp. — Berger said the Box was also being added to systems that belong to the National Cable Television Cooperative.

Box looks good

That’s because the NCTC is suing the leading music video service MTV, and the co-op’s members have been looking more favorably at MTV competitor the Box.

“We’re providing a leverage tool,” said Berger.

The Box is also becoming more popular among cable systems because the channel has worked out a system to effectively promote a system’s pay-per-view movies, a tactic that adds revenue to systems.

When certain movies enter the PPV window, the Box uses music videos from the film’s soundtrack to promote the movie’s appearance on PPV.

“How well we promote pay-per-view has been a real selling point,” said Berger.

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