Event TV to Bloom in June

After spending almost a year developing more events for pay-per-view and video-on-demand distribution, TVN Entertainment Corp. will launch a full-time event channel of its own on June 1.

Event TV will incorporate all sorts of genres in its schedule, some of which are familiar to PPV or VOD and others that aren't.

"This is about creating a destination for events, rather than air them randomly" in either option, said TVN CEO Ian Aaron. "This is a packaging as well as programming initiative to move the needle" on event presentation, he said.

Set to run so far are live boxing specials from Home Box Office and Showtime Event Television, as well as World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.-produced wrestling and King of the Cage mixed martial arts competitions.

Other sports programs, music and comedy concerts are among the shows projected for the channel. Kidvid and family-friendly specials also are under development.

TVN also is completing a deal to carry one Event TV-developed program on both digital and high-definition VOD. Details will break this week or next, Aaron promised. Eventually, high-definition VOD material will be a regular feature of Event TV, added Michael Klein, TVN's senior vice president of event programming.

TVN presently distributes more than 200 events annually through PPV or VOD. On Event TV, those offerings and others will be arranged in genre-specific blocks to run in the same time slot or daypart each week.

Viewers at first will pay on a per-event basis, with individual shows priced from $9.95 to $39.95. Once the channel settles in, subscription packages will be considered through which customers could watch multiple events from a specific genre or supplier, or purhcase a full day or daypart of programming for one fee.

"We're talking crawl, walk, run here," Aaron said. "Outside of WWE and major boxing events, the industry has not done a great job promoting events. We're trying to make all of these genres work as VOD emerges as an important medium and PPV winds down."

All TVN affiliates — including Comcast Corp., Adelphia Communications Corp., Mediacom Communications Corp. and Insight Communications Co. — have agreed to carry Event TV, company officials said.

Per-event revenue-split levels will remain in place, but operators who take the channel will be permitted to co-brand Event TV and seek local sponsorships for interstitial promotions between events. TVN will explore national in-event and interstitial advertiser arrangements.