Insight Looks South

Nov 25, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Bolstered by its surging sports channels in Canada, Insight Sports is quietly moving south of the border.
On the heels of the National Hockey League’s U.S. debut earlier this year of the NHL Network—mdash;which is co-owned by Insight—the Canadian company has plans to bring the World Fishing Network to the States.
The company recently found its first national carriage outlet, inking a deal with Verizon FiOS TV, as it prepares to tap into the $41 billion U.S. fishing market.
“Now that we have commenced distribution of the channel through Verizon, we are in active discussions with a number of other distributors including cable, satellite, IPTV,” said Mark Rubinstein, president of digital media for Insight Sports. “Those discussions are ongoing and we are confident that additional distribution deals will be announced in the months ahead. In addition, we plan to announce trials involving WFN on one or more wireless companies shortly.”
Series on FSN include acquired programs from around the world, including shows featuring fishing legend Roland Martin and Australian fishing expert Rex Hunt.
Insight Sports launched WFN 2 1/2 years ago in Canada, where the channel now has full distribution and access to more than half of the Canadian TV audience.
As part of the channel’s U.S. debut on Verizon FiOS TV, WFN will be available in 12 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.
“WFN is a proven success and already has a built-in, massive audience in the U.S. that is extremely passionate about the sport,” said Tully Bragg, executive VP and chief operating officer of HotHouse Media, the company overseeing WFN’s U.S. distribution strategy. “More Americans fish than play golf or tennis combined. And anglers are huge sports fans in general, so this kind of niche content broadens the appeal of any digital sports tier.”
Insight executives are no strangers to niche markets. The company, which creates and distributes sports and entertainment content across multiple platforms—including broadcast television, DVD, online, mobile, in-arena and video-on-demand—is involved in successful ventures including GameTV and GOLTV Canada, a 24-hour soccer channel, in addition to its significant interest in the NHL Network, a 24-hour hockey channel.
“Our business model is to identify passionate sport verticals that have wide followings but are not fully served,” Mr. Rubinstein said. “Fishing is one great example of that, as there are 45 million-plus people who identify that as something that is important to them. Soccer is the same thing.
“Once you get below the top four sports, which networks like ESPN cover, it becomes difficult for viewers and consumers to get what they want when they want it,” he added. “WFN, as a sport with fans around the world, then becomes a global opportunity for us.”

One Comment

  1. i do notagree entirely

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