Fuel TV left U.S. multichannel lineups in 2013 when Fox Cable Networks converted the network to Fox Sports 2. The action-sports programmer lives on in more than 60 international territories, though, including Portugal, where it’s under license to a company co-owned by CJ Olivares, the general manager when Fox launched it in 2003.
Fuel TV and Olivares now plan a U.S. comeback in 2017 as an ad-supported online channel — and hopefully later as a linear network — with a new company, Every Day Networks.
EDN also encompasses travel-focused OTT service PlanesTrains+Automobiles (PTA) and Business Rockstars, a show aimed at entrepreneurial millennials.
Olivares is EDN’s chief content officer, and other U.S. media veterans in top roles are CEO Andy Schuon (a former MTV programmer), chief operating officer Don Meek (ex of Tribune Co.) and audience development head Austin Wignall (formerly of Fox Networks).
“I think we have a tremendous opportunity right now based on how we’re targeting audiences,” Olivares told The Wire, including using social media to reach “communities of passion.”
OTT viewing obviously is on the rise, and brands are eager to reach passionate fans with programming other than live TV.
Fuel TV’s core sports of surfing and skateboarding will be medal events for the first time in the Olympics at the 2020 games in Tokyo, Olivares added, and “that has generated a lot of excitement around the category.”
Olivares said Fuel TV original series will be reignited, including athlete diary show First Hand and Built to Shred, a program about designing and building obstacles used in motocross and other action sports. Talks are underway to launch Fuel TV in the first quarter on Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, currently vehicles to watch PTA, Olivares said.
Beyond originals, “we’re actively discussing a range of live events across each of the sports, both for U.S. and international,” he said.