Ski Channel for Christmas


The kids are writing their “wanted” lists for Christmas. I never know what I want, but I did get a reminder a couple of weeks ago via Variety:

The Ski Channel has announced a Christmas Day launch in front of 15 million digital cable subscribers, with additional video-on-demand distribution deals in place with DirecTV and Verizon‘s FiOS TV service.

National cable channel will target mountain-sports enthusiasts with 250 hours of licensed content at start-up. It has also inked a deal with Mountain Sports Media allowing it to broadcast ski-themed films from the Warren Miller Entertainment library.

“It has been an incredible month for us. We closed a significant capital raise, (and) if we close all the ad deals on the table, we will hit our first-year’s number before we launch,” said Steve Bellamy, chairman and CEO of the Ski Channel.

Being available on DirecTV is a plus as I’ve been thinking about changing my multichannel video service provider. Currently using Cablevision, since it has MSG-HD (I’ve been a Ranger fan since 1965). DISH Network was my previous provider, but Jimmy Dolan wouldn’t give him MSG-HD (nor Verizon FiOS, for that matter). Hey, HDTV is a big differentiator, so why dilute your advantage by letting your competitors carry HD channels you own? But DirecTV has it, so I may switch to satellite again.

The Ski Channel has some experience on its side, according to SkipressWorld:

According to Bellamy, two of the financiers were the world’s #1 doubles tennis team, the Bryan Brothers who said, “We got to watch Steve work from the ground floor up with The Tennis Channel. If he is a fraction as successful as he was there, The Ski Channel is going to be huge. We don’t ski but understand the power of television. The Tennis Channel grew tennis and The Ski Channel will grow this space.”

Haskell assumes the role of COO/CFO. He has been a general partner of Haskell and Davis a premier Los Angeles CPA firm for 20 years. Tavtigian a 20-year industry veteran from Sony Pictures and 2-time Emmy winner will assume the role of Vice President of Programming and Content. Deiter, a 20-year television industry veteran who has worked for NBC, E! and Fox will assume the role of Vice President of Development and Operations. The company has also added Sinah Hoenig as Director of Marketing and Kate Donnell, who came from Tom Hank’s Playtone Productions.

In other news, Bellamy said that the Ski Channel just completed long term deals with DirecTV and Verizon. The network will launch with a minimum of 15MM households (number likely to go up quickly before launch), and the network is completely free to consumers who have digital cable television.

Children of winter never grow old.

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