FSN Tries to Clear Channel Confusion

Dec 21, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Fox Sports Net’s upcoming marketing campaign won’t try to convince viewers to subscribe, or even to watch its games. It will merely tell viewers where they can find the channel.
Executives at the group of Fox-owned regional sports networks are frustrated by cable and satellite operators who, in the midst of consolidation and bandwidth crunching, keep moving around their HD programming and airing games on obscure channel positions.
A recent Wall Street Journal story chronicled how Time Warner and Comcast’s purchase of Adelphia has resulted in many former Adelphia viewers feeling confused about where to find HD games. Also, some FSN regions do not have their own dedicated HD channels, but still frequently offer games in HD, resulting in operators sticking the signals onto inconsistent channel spaces.
One site, www.hdsportsguide.com, was created by a frustrated fan solely to track HD sports scheduling.
“We’re receiving viewer and journalist calls from people who have FSN but are missing the games,” FSN spokesperson Jennifer Johnson said.
Last month, FSN announced plans to double its HD coverage for the 2006-2007 season, which is an expensive proposition. Producing a game in HD costs only 20 percent more than standard definition, but HD transmission rates can run as much as 500 percent higher. The result is that games can cost as much as double to produce in HD vs. standard definition, which is money wasted if viewers can’t find the games.
Though informing viewers of channel locations is usually the job of the distributors, FSN decided it was time to do an end run directly to viewers.
Plans include on-air promotions urging viewers to call their local operator for channel numbers, outdoor advertising branded with the channel number and distributing game schedule flyers at games.
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s High Definition newsletter, a weekly source of breaking HD news, articles and interviews written by Senior Reporter James Hibberd.

One Comment

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