Blackbelt TV is taking its distribution fight across The Pond.
The mixed martial arts proponent has pinned a distribution agreement with Canalsat, the subscription TV and IPTV service, that will see it launch in 52 nations in Europe and Africa.
The agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will begin with a phased rollout, beginning in France on Sept. 18. All of the telecasts will be delivered in French.
Aimed at males 18 to 49, Blackbelt TV features action from across a number of mixed martial arts disciplines, a large library of genre films and beautiful girls hosting talk shows and providing ringside analysis.
Stateside, the network has affiliate deals with Comcast, Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS, Frontier Communications and other smaller providers. Largely located on sports tiers, Larry Kasanoff, Blackbelt TV's CEO and founder, a Hollywood producer with ties to the Mortal Kombat franchise, Beowulf, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Platoon, said the network's goal is expanded basic positioning both in the U.S. and abroad.
Actor and businessman Christopher Lambert (The Highlander, Mortal Kombat, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan) is a partner in Blackbelt TV and was instrumental in securing the distribution agreement with Canalsat, according to Kasanoff.
He likened Blackbelt TV's export to the film industry. "It's like with the movies, there is increasing revenue from the foreign box office," Kasnaoff said in an interview. "We want to build the Blackbelt TV brand worldwide."
Kasanoff said Blackbelt TV is a natural for international distribution, considering MMA has global appeal and the network has content rights from such areas as Thailand, China, Korea and South America. "Blackbelt TV is from the world, to the world," he said.
Through the Canalsat deal, Blackbelt is expected to launch in Switzerland and Monaco, and eyeing rollouts in eastern part of The Continent. "We're looking at Europe and Africa this year. In 2013, the focus will be on Latin America and South America," he said.
On the programming front, Kasanoff said Blackbelt TV has an array of MMA movies, anime and ring-side coverage from fight leagues around the globe. He noted that the service is also building its collection of live cards, which will total 15 during its current fiscal year, and build to 25 next year. The goal, he said, is to offer a live weekly event card down the road.
The network, working with rep Trifecta Entertainment & Media, has bulked up its advertising base over the past three months, adding endemic workout, energy drink and vitamin clients.
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