UFC Tags TVN On VOD Network

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is punching its way into the video-on-demand arena.

The Zuffa Inc.-owned mixed-martial-arts outfit, which has successfully established itself on the pay-per-view and basic-cable platforms, is teaming with on-demand company TVN Entertainment on UFC On Demand. The new network features free and fee-based video content, according to TVN chief strategy officer Jim Riley.

As part of the deal, TVN will handle the sales, licensing and distribution through the company's Adoniss encoding, transport and asset-management services.

The network, which launched earlier this year and is already available to more than 6 million homes via TVN-affiliated distributors such as Verizon Communications, Insight Communications, Bresnan Communications and Canada's Rogers Communications, is currently in negotiations with undisclosed operators representing an additional 15 million homes, according to Riley.

UFC president Dana White said the network allows the sport's fans to dive deeper into the UFC experience.

The three-tired channel, which will deliver approximately 20 hours of content a month, offers both unlimited free and transactional-based content.

The “UFC Free Zone” proffers short features on mixed-martial-arts rules and fighting disciplines, as well as fighter profiles and UFC event previews, Riley said.

The fee-based “UFC Fight Zone” offers library fights in their entirety at a suggested retail price of $2.99 per fight with a 24-hour viewing period. Fight Zone will also focus on classic matches featuring fighters competing in upcoming UFC PPV events.

For fans seeking full access to UFC Events, the “UFC Event” Zone carries archival UFC PPV shows for $4.99 per title to watch over a 24-hour period. The block will feature rarely seen UFC content from 1993-1998, along with UFC-based DVDs, compilation specials and on-demand replays of recent pay-per-view events.

Unlike other on-demand packages, Riley said, the UFC On Demand service will provide operators with an opportunity to generate incremental revenue while ginning up promotion for upcoming UFC events.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.