The Switch Acquires HTN Communications in Distribution Merger

Less than two weeks out from the NAB Show, the sports television distribution industry has undergone a shakeup as, yesterday, The Switch acquired all assets and operations of HTN Communications, LLC (HTN).

With the merger, HTN will be absorbed into The Switch and become “The Switch HTN Sports Group.” The deal will consolidate HTN’s network diversity of more than 70 sports venues with The Switch’s uncompressed HD network, local fiber circuits, and switching services.

TheSwitchCalling Monday a “happy day,” HTN chairman of the board and CEO Joe Cohen says the joining of the two companies strategically positions both HTN and The Switch to satisfy local, national, and global customer demands.

HTN“By putting these two entities together, we’re very strong,” says Cohen, who has owned HTN during three different stints since 1986. “They have a national marketing base and we’ve always been local marketing, and they have a network that is second to none that we’re going to ride on.”

Despite its new parent company, Cohen says his job is “not going to change at all” and that at HTN it is “business as usual.” All HTN employees and management staff will remain on staff and become part of The Switch’s new subsidiary, The Switch HTN Sports Group.

“It’s a terrific thing for HTN and the industry,” says Cohen. “We’re really excited about this.”

HTN Communications has been a dominant force in the distribution industry for over 57 years. Formerly known as Hughes Television Network, HTN has provided HD transmission access from every MLB, NBA, and NHL sports venue in the United States. The company has transmitted every game ever produced by Madison Square Garden Networks, NESN, YES Network, MASN, SportsTime Ohio, and Altitude Spots and Entertainment.

Meanwhile, The Switch adds Cohen, one of the more well-known figures in the sports programming and live distribution service industry. Throughout his career, Cohen has served as president of MSG Networks and co-founded the USA Network.

“We have been huge fans of Joe Cohen and HTN over the last 22 years,” Scott Beers, president and CEO of Beers Enterprises Inc. (BEI), owner and operator of The Switch said in a company release. “We are privileged to be leveraging the existing strengths of both companies to provide our combined customers with network synergy while offering additional services at the highest quality and reliability in the industry.”

While HTN specializes in local distribution, The Switch is an industry pioneer in customer-controlled, uncompressed HD distribution services for domestic and international television networks, common carriers, local broadcast stations, and producers and distributors of sports. In 2012, The Switch completed phase two of its network expansion, adding six additional U.S. cities for a total of 33 locations. The Switch plans to expand to 50 key media markets across the United States and internationally.

According to Cohen, the staffs of both companies will meet prior to NAB and HTN plans on speaking with its customers and canvasing their needs in the coming weeks.