Fusion, the Hispanic millennial-targeted news venture of ABC and Univision, is getting a big boost in distribution from the carriage pact that Disney has set with DirecTV.
Fusion’s subscriber base will rise to about 40 million homes next year. DirecTV reaches 20 million subscribers in the U.S., though it’s unclear how widely Fusion will be distributed across DirecTV when it bows on the satcaster’s lineup next month.
In noting the distribution gains from DirecTV, Fusion cited Comcast and Time Warner Cable as “the only major distributors not carrying” the channel. The news release statement came on the heels of Disney’s announcement of the wide-ranging DirecTV pact. But it also neatly coincided with Tuesday’s deadline for the last round of public comments on the Comcast-TW Cable merger before the FCC staff completes its review and the commission votes on whether to approve the deal.
A Fusion spokesman said it is in talks with Comcast on a carriage deal. Comcast and TW Cable have been hammered by opponents of the merger who charge that the enlarged company will have the power to cripple startup channels by refusing to carry them. Comcast has countered that it will have to carry a wide range of rival outlets to remain competitive in an pay-TV environment where consumers have increasing options, notably from a host of new digital players.
Fusion hardly qualifies as an fledgling indie given the muscle of its parent companies. But the timing of its release calling out Comcast and Time Warner Cable was not accidental.
“As millennials continue to garner increasing economic and cultural influence, media companies and distributors increasingly are recognizing that they need to provide programming that speaks to the interests and passions of this young, multicultural generation,” said Fusion CEO Isaac Lee. “Fusion is already providing that content in a way that no one else is, and we have a lot of exciting projects ahead that people are not going to want to miss out on.”