SBJ/June 25-July 1, 2012/Media

Red Bull strikes deal with Outside Television

With Fuel TV shifting away from action sports programming, Red Bull — a producer of action sports programming through its Red Bull Media House — faced a problem: Of the hundreds of cable channels in existence, none is devoted entirely to the action sports genre, which may not bring huge ratings but reaches a young, male audience that advertisers typically want.

Red Bull will distribute its action sports programming on the upstart network.
Photo by: VITEK LUDVIK / RED BULL CONTENT POOL
After assessing the landscape for several months, the company has settled on a new network, Outside Television, that launched in June 2010. This week, Red Bull Media House plans to announce a three-year programming deal with Outside Television that will see at least 30 hours of non-event Red Bull branded programming on the network starting in the middle of next month.

Outside Television, which recently cut a deal with Comcast and expects to have a distribution of 5.7 million homes by the end of the year, paid a rights fee for the programming, but the companies would not say how much the deal is worth. The deal is strictly a programming one and does not include any sponsorship elements beyond having Red Bull’s brand integrated in the shows. Outside Television will handle the ad sales.

“Outside is now the only channel that can support lifestyle action/adventure programming,” said Greg Jacobs, head of distribution for Red Bull Media House North America. “That’s why they are so important to us.”

Fuel TV is in 36 million homes, but Jacobs said he is not concerned by Outside Television’s smaller distribution footprint, saying that he believes in the strength of the brand and is confident it will grow. “We don’t want to be on a bigger network if we’re going to be lost in a Saturday daypart,” Jacobs said. “We have a big audience that we can migrate to that network.”

The deal includes original series, films and future shows with Red Bull athletes, including NFL player DeMarcus Ware, NBA player Blake Griffin and skier Lindsey Vonn. Red Bull’s roster also includes action sports stars Travis Pastrana and Ryan Sheckler. The 30 exclusive hours of prime-time programming will be produced by Red Bull Media House. The deal also contemplates future shows that are yet to be developed.

The best-known series is “Pushing Boundaries,” which Outside Television plans to run nightly in prime time.

“Our audience works well with Red Bull,” said Rob Faris, senior vice president of programming for Outside Television. “Our audience is older than the typical action sports audience. Our more mature audience — typically over 30 — is a good complement for Red Bull.”

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