Cable Operators

Outside Television Eyes National Rollout on Comcast

5/21/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Outside Television expects to commence a
national rollout on Comcast systems next month.

The independent network, created in mid-2010 from Outside
magazine and the former Resort Sports Network, in June will
become available to Xfinity TV sports-tier customers.

The rollout, starting in the Chicago area, will encompass 14
of the nation’s largest distributor’s 16 regions over the course
of 2012, effectively doubling Outside’s base, according to Dennis
Gillespie, Outside’s senior vice president of distribution.

The bulk of the launches, located near America’s coastlines,
mountain ranges and Great Lakes, will occur over a 45-day period
into mid-July, he said.

Southeastern rollouts in Florida and Atlanta will be followed
by Western markets in late June and New England into July.

Major markets in the initial wave include Seattle; Portland,
Ore.; Denver; Chicago; Detroit; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Houston;
and Atlanta.

“It’s a recognition that Outside Television reaches a big
broad audience and the network is in great position to engage
with the more than half of Americans
who embrace outside lifestyles,”
Gillespie said.

“These are the same people who
tend to engage themselves more
deeply in digital media activities that
video providers like Comcast’s Xfinity
TV were some of the very first to
create.”

The deal, financial terms of which
(including license-fee amount) were
not disclosed, is a major coup for
a network whose distribution had
been limited to 3 million legacy subscribers
of Resort Sports Network, in
100 markets through owned stations
and affiliates.

As to how many subscribers Outside
could gain, Gillespie referred
questions to Comcast, and a Comcast
representative, citing policy,
would not disclose the company’s
sports-tier penetration. Comcast’s
Sports Entertainment Package typically
costs $7.99 per month as an
add-on tier.

“We’re very close with three other
top distributors and expect deals
later this year,” Gillespie, the former
GSN distribution chief who joined
Outside in January, added. “We’re
looking for more carriage on a national
basis.”

Based on Outside magazine, Outside
Television produces high-definition
fare centering on running,
biking, skiing, hiking, sailing, surfing,
kayaking, snowshoeing and
other adventures sports, as well as
the passionate people who follow
these pursuits as “a way of life.”

Trend and gear information are
part of a programming mix that includes
morning show Outside Today.
A news magazine show, based
on the publication, is currently in
development, with an eye toward a
fall premiere.

With Outdoor Channel, Sportsman
Channel and World Fishing
Network focused more on field-and-
stream sports, Fuel TV morphing
into the primary vehicle for
the Ultimate Fighting Championship
mixed-martial-arts outfit and
National Geographic Channel’s offering
more broad-based content,
Gillespie said Outside Television is
tapping an underserved, well-educated
and affluent audience.

Outside Television signed a
corporate agreement with Comcast
late last year, affording the
opportunity to negotiate with
local and regional system executives
over the past four or five
months, Gillespie said.

September