TW, stations pump up Pax

Last-minute pacts extend web's reach

NEW YORK — On the eve of its Monday debut, Pax TV, the broadcast network devoted mostly to family oriented rerun series such as “Touched by an Angel,” has signed seven more TV station affiliates and landed a cable-carriage deal with Time Warner Cable.

The seven new affiliates pull Pax TV’s U.S. clearance rate up to 95 UHF TV stations covering about 76% of the country.

The Time Warner agreement will get Pax TV into two major markets where it didn’t have an affil, San Diego and Cincinnati, ensuring that the network will be in all top 50 markets. Paxson Communications, the owner of Pax TV, is paying cable operators a reported $3 a subscriber for a cable system to set up a local-origination channel to carry Pax TV programming. That fee can go higher if the cable system gives Pax TV a dial position that’s close to that of the Big Four broadcast networks.

The drawback on these cable deals is that about 30% of TV households in these markets — the families that either can’t afford to pay monthly cable bills or who watch too little TV to make it worth their while to subscribe — will not be able to get Pax TV’s programming. But cable deals with TW and six other cable operators, including Comcast and John Malone’s TCI, will add 7 million households to Pax TV’s audience reach, according to Paxson’s estimates.

Paxson doesn’t pay TV stations for the affiliation agreements, but gives them three or four minutes an hour of commercial time to sell to local advertisers.

The new affiliates are WAXN Charlotte, N.C.; KTSB Santa Barbara; WBGR Bangor, Maine.; KKRA Rapid City, Iowa; KSKI Twin Falls, Iowa; WADA Charlottesville, Va.; and WTLW Lima, Ohio.

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