Many haven’t heard of the Sportsman Channel or even knew that it even existed. But for 2009, it was a big year for them from a distribution front. The channel features hunting, shooting, and fishing programs, and it is set to launch a HD feed later in January. What made 2009 great for them was that they doubled its subscription base from nine to twenty million homes.
Their strategy for expanding was through news advertising, moving to higher distribution tiers on Comcast systems, and partnering with DirecTV and several smaller distributors. Anytime you can get a foot in the door with both Comcast and DirecTV, you’re sure to grow. The SC, over the past year, created more than two hundred original series episodes over fifteen different shows, such as Handguns, Tactical Arms, Breaking the Surface, and Fly Fisherman. These sound a bit more in-depth than those fishing shows on ESPN at 2 am.
The next goal for the Channel is to reach 25 million homes. That shouldn’t really be a problem seeing as how they havea crack advertising team. But this is a niche channel, they can only reach only so many homes. Not all people are into guns and hunting and some might not be inclined to pick up the channel because of this. Fishing, however, is the key for them. There are so many fishermen out there and there isn’t any good programming about this, let alone in HD. Along with strong advertising, they should focus on fishing adventures, especially since it seems like it’s getting harder to catch big game on the open seas.
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