SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Media

OLN aims for ‘actumentary’

Outdoor Life Network will air the Winter Gravity Games in what it calls “actumentary” format, a production style it is devising to separate Gravity from its more competition-oriented rivals.

The March 3-6 competition will be filmed with enhancements such as variable-speed and high-definition cameras, and the action will be edited in novel ways and carefully integrated with music, said John Carter, vice president of production and executive producer for the games.

OLN hopes its coverage of the Gravity Games sets them apart from other events.
When the original production airs March 27-30, it will feel as much like a documentary or action video as a televised sports event, he said.

“There’s a lot of clutter in the marketplace now,” Carter said. “We feel we can redefine it and go a little bit back toward the core or the root of the sports and give a sense of a backyard or local park-type competition without scaling down on the national championship aspect of the event.

“What has been lost is sort of the passion and a lot of the camaraderie and music-driven motivation of actual events.”

Production costs will be roughly the same, he said, with expenses shifting to the post-production side. There will be relatively less expense in on-site resources such as talent and mobile units.

Bode Miller and skiing are already drawing winter-sports fans to Outdoor Life.
Saturn (the presenting sponsor) and Yamaha Motorsports are the event’s two major sponsors, and Snickers, Edge Advanced and Champion are new sponsors and advertisers.

Outdoor Life Network bought the Gravity Games from Octagon in January 2004, and the planned changes follow a trend of action television properties adjusting their presentation.

ESPN’s Summer X Games went to narrower, more elite fields of athletes this year and tied in the airings with “SportsCenter” telecasts.

Vans has focused its efforts away from its Triple Crown, applying that name to only three surf events this summer and adding programs like title sponsorship of the Vans Invitational in Portland in August, one of five stops on the new Dew Tour, the NBC/Clear Channel property.

The Dew Tour is taking more of a traditional-sports-competition approach than the others. The series rewards season champions and has invitationals to draw new talent into the mix.

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