Tuff TV Turns to Crowd-Funding

Testosterone-fueled digi-net Tuff TV wants to know if viewers are tough enough to cough up cash for the network. "Own a piece of Tuff TV," says the network on TuffTV.com, touting a crowd-funding initiative, launched in mid-July that's designed to "take this company to the next level," according to John Bonner, executive VP and co-founder.

Owned by Seals Entertainment and Luken Communications, Tuff TV aims to double its 40-plus affiliates and 38 million-plus U.S. households. The network features a mix of male-oriented reality, drama and adventure shows along with mixed martial arts.

"An investment in Tuff TV will have an immediate impact on the network by providing funds and infrastructure that will fuel distribution growth, advertising sales and more exclusive original programming," says Chris Hannaford, EVP of programming.

Incentives include dinner with the CEO, a duffel bag, digital antenna and guest turn as a producer. Tuff TV set $50,000 as a goal, but, according to its crowd-funding platform SparkMarket.com, had raised just $30 at presstime.

Lou Seals, Tuff TV CEO, said contributions are limited to the state of Georgia, and acknowledged crowd-funding has been "kind of a learning process."

"It's generated a lot of interest in the network," he notes.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.