July 16, 2012

Outside TV finds partner key to growing audience

Contributed Photos
Contributed Photos
Westport-based Outside Television plans to expand onto Comcast's nationwide network by the end of the year, incorporating new content from Red Bull Media House.
Much of the Red Bull content for Outside Television will focus on adventure sports, such as mountain biking.

A Connecticut adventure sports television channel is launching nationwide this year while offering a slew of new content.

Westport-based Outside Television announced in June a long-term programming partnership with global media company, Red Bull Media House. The decision closely follows Outside's national rollout deal with Comcast Xfinity early the same month.

"The fact that the deals come within one week of each other represents the symbiotic relationship between programming and distribution," said Outside spokesman Thomas Tryer.

The network's nationwide expansion began with Chicago, Miami, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Detroit, Houston, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. As its number of households grows, Outside plans to debut Red Bull content in mid-July. The partnership will bring original series and films featuring Red Bull athletes to Outside Television, marketed to outdoor enthusiasts.

The channel hopes to join every Comcast cable system, including those in Connecticut, by year-end.

"Outside TV has a similar passion and commitment to bringing these sports and personalities to a new screen, and we're happy to bring our adventure sports fans to their network," said Greg Jacobs, head of distribution for Red Bull Media House North America.

Outside Television began in 2010 in conjunction with Outside Magazine. The network relies exclusively on high-definition programming from locations around the globe, capturing sailing, surfing, kayaking, skiing, running, hiking, mountain biking and more. It aims to engage the reported 141 million people nationwide who participate in an active outdoor lifestyle.

The channel was initially available through local cable systems serving resort towns in the West. When the programming became popular, Outside began searching for a way to broadcast nationally and struck a deal with the nation's largest cable provider, Comcast.

One week later, Outside formed a programming deal with Red Bull. The agreement follows an established editorial relationship between the two brands. Red Bull has provided Outside Magazine with access to stories on its exclusive events and athletes for the past two years.

"Red Bull is one of the iconic producers and brands active in the outside area. They have a staple of athletes and personalities that is unparalleled. They have the key people in sports, renowned producers, and they are one of the most innovative in the outside landscape. We couldn't ask for better," said Tryer.

Red Bull Media House has created original television, film, digital, print and gaming content for distribution across multiple media platforms since 2007. Red Bull sponsors 500 athletes from more than 130 action sports.

Additions to Outside content will include feature films like "Strength in Numbers," a documentary which unites novice and professional cyclists worldwide, as well as the new series "Pushing Boundaries," which will tell stories of people active in the outside world pushing themselves with new challenges.

The Red Bull programming will fit with Outside Television viewers, Tryer says. He describes the target audience as highly educated and socially aware in the 25-54 age range, always looking to reach the next level and engage actively in their world.

In the future, the partnership may expand beyond television to include Outside's other properties such as print, online, mobile and social media.

"Today, we're focused on a formal partnership with Outside TV, which as it grows, will likely expand to include content collaboration across Outside's media properties as well as other Red Bull Media House properties including our monthly newsstand magazine, The Red Bulletin," said Jacobs.

Though the length and financial terms of the contract are private, both companies say they look forward to a long partnership developing and producing content for outdoor enthusiasts.

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