Inspiration Network will more than double its distribution reach next week, having signed carriage deals with both DirecTV (announced today) and Dish Network to launch on Aug. 27, the network said.
On DirecTV, Inspiration, which offers Christian and other faith-based programming including music and documentary fare, will occupy channel 364 and will be available to all of the leading satellite-TV provider’s 17 million subscribers. Channel officials noted that is one channel over from The Weather Channel, a network that is the top destination of Inspiration Network viewers.
Inspiration also expects to announce a signed affiliation deal with Dish Network that will place the network in front of all of Dish’s 13.8 million subscribers. That deal has been signed and the release is awaiting final approvals, Inspiration senior vice president of communications and research John Roos said.
Launched in 1990, Inspiration’s distribution has climbed to 24 million U.S. cable homes, including through such efforts as offering video-on-demand content the past two years. It has also launched a broadband site (Inspiration.net) and three other programming services: digital network i-Lifetv, Hispanic network La Familia Cosmovision and Inspiration Network International. The parent company is Inspiration Ministries.
On Aug. 27, through the addition of the two nationwide satellite platforms, Inspiration’s base will more than double, to 54 million homes, Inspiration said. “We’re not aware of anybody in the business who’s done that,” Roos said.
With the distribution bump, Inspiration will be able to step up in affiliate and advertising revenue and invest even more in programming. “We’re trying to produce things that will have an impact, that people will be interested in,” Roos said.
Inspiration plans to put some promotional effort behind a documentary style series called Speechless... Silencing the Christians that highlights legal battles fought to, for example, display crosses at a Veteran’s Administration hospital or for a church to refuse to host a lesbian civil union ceremony.
“We’ve been added to a number of markets because of that [series] alone,” Roos said.
Roos said Inspiration also expects to grow cable distribution significantly, too, including this year.
The release about the DirecTV launch quoted The Inspiration Networks chairman and CEO David Cerullo saying: “This launch takes INSP past the 54 million household mark in total distribution. INSP has the most in-depth array of inspirational programming in the industry, including weekly programs from more than 20 different faith traditions. We look forward to serving DirecTV’s subscribers with our diverse and exciting lineup of quality, inspirational programs.”
Inspiration also sent along a photo of the DirecTV contract signing (above), featuring The Inspiration Networks’ EVP of Business Affairs and General Counsel Dale Ardizzone (seated far left), COO Bill Airy (seated far right) and Cerullo.