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Voom Adds ESPN, Prepares For Spin-off

Jericho, N.Y — VOOM, the high-definition-centric digital satellite TV service, said it has reached a deal to add high-definition and standard-definition versions of ESPN, plus standard-definition (SD) versions of ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ESPNEWS to its direct broadcast satellite lineup.

In addition, VOOM is now offering 24-hour golf coverage in SD on The Golf Channel, along with news in SD from FOX News Channel.

In related news, Cablevision Systems, parent of Rainbow DBS, which operates VOOM, announced plans for the spin-off of the direct-broadcast satellite unit, along with three national movie channels and a movie-theater businesses. The spin-off is expected to be completed later this year.

The new company will be named Rainbow Media Enterprises, and will include current Cablevision business units known as Rainbow DBS, Rainbow Programming and Rainbow Movies.

Rainbow Programming handles the cable movie networks AMC, WE: Women’s Entertainment, and The Independent Film Channel, in addition to various video-on-demand and Mag Rack video services.

Rainbow Movies is the corporate name for the group running Clearview Cinemas.

After the spin-off, Cablevision will retain its cable and telecommunications businesses; Lightpath; Madison Square Garden and related sports teams; Radio City Music Hall; and other businesses including fuse, Metro Channels, News 12 and remaining interest in regional sports networks around the country.

Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan will serve as chairman of Rainbow Media Enterprises. Current Cablevision CEO James Dolan will become chairman of the Cablevision unit once the spin-off is completed.

Thomas Dolan, who is a current board member and executive VP of Cablevision, will become Rainbow Media Enterprises’ CEO.

William J. Bell will continue as vice chairman of Cablevision through the end of the year and will also serve prior to the spin-off as Rainbow Media Enterprises’ chief financial officer until a permanent replacement is found.

Josh Sapan will continue to lead Rainbow’s national programming efforts as CEO of Rainbow Programming.

Mickey Alpert will continue as chief operating officer of Rainbow DBS, and Morten Gotterup will continue as senior VP and general manager of Clearview Cinemas.

Charles Dolan, Tom Dolan and Josh Sapan are also expected to become members of the Rainbow Media Enterprises board of directors after the spin-off.