As part of a major push to expand its international distribution, the 24-hour martial arts network Blackbelt TV has inked a distribution deal with CanalSat that will put the network in 52 countries and territories.
CanalSat is a subscription satellite and IPTV service that is 100% owned by Vivendi. It serves France, Switzerland and Monaco in Europe, countries throughout Africa and nation islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as the Caribbean Sea.
The phased rollout on CanalSat will start with the launch of the channel in France on Sept. 18.
Larry Kasanoff, Blackbelt TV's CEO and founder, noted in an interview that the new deal is part of a "very aggressive international strategy." He expects the global reach of the channel to hit 20 million by year-end.
As part of their international expansion, he stress that plan to localize all of their channels and that all the programming in the new French channel will be in French and include French hosts.
"We'll be bringing CanalSat viewers lots of martial arts from France and other parts of Europe, but will also show international disciplines like Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu and MMA," added Adrian Schmotolocha, the network's COO and head of worldwide sales, in a statement.
Kasanoff, who produced the Mortal Kombat film franchise, launched the channel three years ago after realizing the global popularity of the sport. In the U.S., Blackbelt TV has distribution deals with Verizon's FiOS TV, Comcast, Charter and other systems.
Programming includes right to a variety of martial arts bouts and fights from around the world, martial arts movies, TV series, anime and lifestyle programming.
International film star and businessman, Christopher Lambert, who played in The Highlander film series and other films, is a partner in Blackbelt TV and was instrumental in securing the distribution agreement with CanalSat.