SBJ/May 1 - 7, 2006/This Weeks News

Race keeps OLN rolling in cycling

OLN next week plans to begin streaming live online coverage of the Giro d’Italia bicycle race, part of a strategic move by the network to stay involved with cycling as it prepares for its name change to Versus this fall and expands its programming mix.

OLN will stream online coverage of the
prestigious Giro d’Italia for $19.99.
The network last year offered online coverage at of the prestigious race, part of the Triple Crown of Cycling, but that coverage was only a raw video feed with no announcers or graphics. This year’s coverage is a fully produced effort, with English-language commentary and graphics.

OLN is partnering with Cycling.TV, a London-based online-only cycling station, for the Giro d’Italia coverage.

OLN will air coverage of the race on its channel on Sundays, beginning May 7, with Monday through Saturday stages of the three-week race set for online-only distribution.

The online streaming will carry a $19.99 price for the entire event and does not include commercials. OLN last year garnered 7,500 subscribers for its raw Internet feed of the event, a number the network this year aims to double. Last year’s price for online coverage was $5.95.

“We want to continue to be a leader in cycling,” said OLN President Gavin Harvey. “There’s not enough of an audience during the week to put all the stages on TV — it’s such a focused event — but there is unquestionably a following for this, and the online area is obviously growing and it’s one we want to exploit further.”

The Giro d’Italia effort arrives at a time of significant change for OLN, which is concluding its first season of NHL coverage. Executives last week announced plans to change the network name to Versus, and a major push continues to acquire additional top-tier programming to expand beyond its original base of outdoor and adventure sports programming.

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