Steve Bellamy, founder of The Tennis Channel and The Ski Channel, is launching on demand The Surf Channel next month with carriage in 20 million homes, he said today.
Bellamy said distribution deals are in place with cable firms Comcast and Cox Communications; satellite players DirecTV and Dish Network; Filmon.com and a preferred channel partnership with YouTube.
He said other distribution deals have been made and will be announced soon.
The Ski Channel, also a free to consumers VOD channel (for which there also is no affiliate fee), launched in late 2008 and is now in 45 million TV homes, according to Bellamy, who said the surf outlet was the same model as Ski Channel. The two outlets will share production facilities in Los Angeles and other assets.
The channel was unveiled at a press conference today at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., ahead of a concert by TV On The Radio.
Bellamy said a big component of the channel will be movies, starting with what is probably the most famous action-sports film ever, 1966's The Endless Summer.
In a release, Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown said: "The Surf Channel is going to be one of the best things to ever happen to our industry. Giving 10's of millions of people living room access to the sport and culture of surfing is something we have never had before. I stand with the rest of the surf ambassadors to do everything to help this channel be successful!"
In a release, Bellamy said: "Surf, its lifestyle and environment create an unparalleled canvas for a television network. The Surf Channel will be a sports channel, travel channel and lifestyle channel all in one. Viewers will go on the most expensive vacation of their lives, to the most remote and exotic destinations the planet has to offer. They will get to see some of the most incredible athletes pushing the human spirit and the boundaries of human capability to the furthest of limits."