The Ski Channel struck its first episodic TV deal as the ad-supported video-on-demand channel ramps up for a run at the mountain-sports audience.
According to chairman Steve Bellamy, the former Tennis Channel founder who traded in his racket for a snowshoe, Ski Channel grabbed the rights to Ride Guide TV’s library of skiing and mountain bike shows (300 shows over 11 seasons), thousands of hours of clip footage and joint production on new programming.
Calgary, Alberta-based Ride Guide will produce 26 new episodes a year of Ride Guide TV for the channel right out of the gate, with information on where and how to have the “ultimate ride” on a ski, snowboard or bike.
The show had been running on VOD cable network Havoc TV, but Ride Guide founder Kevin Pennock said in announcing the move that Ski Channel was “more in tune with what we are doing.”
Ski Channel will target an upscale audience with programming on everything from skiiing and snowboarding to mountain biking, hiking, and climbing. It has a carriage deal with Time Warner Cable in hand and is said to have drawn interest from other major players. It already has lined up charter advertisers including Panasonic, Mirage Resorts and Fender Guitars.
Bellamy is still looking at an early 2008 launch.
The Ride Guide addition follows Ski Channel’s deal, announced last month, for thousands of hours of footage from iconic snow sports filmmaker Sky Pinnick’s Rage Films. “This is going to be a major tentpole for the Ski Channel,” Bellamy said.