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Ski Channel Lands Cox Deal

Ski Channel chairman and CEO Steve Bellamy is gliding into this week’s Las Vegas-based National Association for Television Program Executives conference and the SIA Snowsports Trade Show with a new, long-term distribution partnership deal with Cox Communications for his as yet launched video-on-demand service.

Cox joins Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network Systems in agreeing to offer the service to at least 13 million VOD-enabled households when it launches later this year with mountain-based sports programming such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, backpacking and climbing.

Bellamy, the former Tennis Channel CEO, also announced the formation of The Ski Channel Film Festival, which will showcase mountain sports-based films. While the festival doesn’t have a launch date or a home yet, it does have the backing of a major genre film producer: Warren Miller. The festival will name an award after Miller – who has produced more than 750 films within the genre – which will be given to an individual for lifetime achievement in a mountain-based sport, according to Bellamy.

All of these developments come on the boots of the this week’s annual SIA Snowsports Trade Show  -- which coincidentally happens to take place at the Mandalay Bay --  the hotel that is simultaneously hosting the NAPTE conference.

The Ski Channel will take full advantage of the colliding conferences by erecting a giant 40-foot  x 10-foot Monster Media Video Billboard in front of the convention center that attendees have to pass to get to both shows. The billboard will feature Ski Channel-branded skiing video for the approximately 22,000 slated to strap up for the Ski Show, along with channel programming information for the nearly 8,000 expected to visit NAPTE.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.