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Atom TV Adds Action Sports To VOD Lineup

Atom Television has signed a deal with youth clothing manufacturer QuikSilver to develop a video-on-demand content service built around surfing, snowboarding and BMX-type cycling events.

"None of the content has ever seen on TV before," Atom Television CEO Andrew Tow said. It's been confined to tape or DVD outlets.

But the content goes hand in hand with QuikSilver's core demographic — teens and young adults — and that makes it a good fit for new technologies, like VOD, Tow believes.

The VOD content will be built under a new QuikSilver brand named Union*.

The pitch: action

Tow is pitching cable operators on the service, which has the same young, cutting-edge demographic appeal as Atom TV.

"They have hundreds of programs focusing on different action sports and plan to bring that content onto TV," Tow said. "And we're using the QuikSilver brand to drive viewership."

Tow said he'll begin pitching cable operators next month and hopes to have carriage deals by year's end.

"We're playing with a few different models," he said, for a 10- to 25-hour package. The content could fit into a free on demand model or an SVOD package, he said.

The Union content would follow in the footsteps of Atom TV, which enjoys VOD distribution through Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp., Rogers Cable Inc., RCN Corp., Altrio Communications and SaskTel. Almost 2 million cable subscribers can access Atom's free on-demand content, and Tow expects that figure to grow to upwards of 7 million by year's end, with its distribution partner TVN Entertainment Corp.

"We're getting substantial numbers in hit rates against our content," he said. "We're getting a couple hundred thousands views per month in aggregate across the platforms. Clearly, there is a demonstrable need. It's going very well."

That usage level has drawn advertisers' interest, Tow said. "We've gone to advertisers and agencies. Instead of rating points, we have data showing people proactively spending time navigating and securing Atom content. This should translate into very attractive traditional metrics like CMPs."

What's more, Tow feels he's got a demographic — young males — that advertisers would be interested in. "We should be able to secure meaningful revenue out of it. We have an increasing level of confidence that we'll be able to generate revenue and that we'll be attractive to the advertiser."

Atom dignet?

A number of Fortune 100 companies already advertise on Atom's web site, Tow said. "It's still in a very early state, but we will leverage the existing ad base relationship and extend it to VOD. We got a head start on that."

With Atom, one thing always leads to another. In addition to VOD, Tow hopes to launch a digital-cable network version of Atom Television. Tow said he's got a digital cable launch commitment from a "good-sized" U.S. cable MSO.

"With VOD, we've demonstrated there is a desire for this kind of content," he said. "The people who are driving the adoption of digital technologies are interested in the content we provide."