Outdoor Sportsman Group will go hunting for subscribers next month when it launches its new fee-based digital app.
The “Outdoor Sportsman Group’s My Outdoor TV” app will offer hundreds of hours of library programming from the company’s three cable networks, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network, Outdoor Sportsman Group president and CEO Jim Liberatore said. The service will be available on Android and Apple iOS devices for $9.99 a month.
NOT AN OTT SERVICE
While the app is not an over-the-top service — it will not offer live feeds of the three services — Liberatore said it was created to reach hardcore outdoor purists who do not have access to the channels and to appeal to existing fans who want an expanded experience with the networks.
Distribution remains a challenge for the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment-owned networks. The group said Outdoor Channel has 40 million subscribers, Sportsman Channel 32 million and WFN 5 million. But Liberatore said offering a true OTT service isn’t the answer to that dilemma.
“That is something that we would only do in cooperation with the cable operators and satellite providers,” he said. “We aren’t in a position to be tweaking anybody, and this property that we’re developing actually does help them sell their product.
“We want to create this wonderland for people who are avid in the space,” he added. “What drives this is our hope to increase exposure to our linear network. What we would love people to do is take some of this library programming and then go back and watch the shows.”
Among the app’s highlights is a feature that allows users to search by any hunting activity and find all the shows about that activity across all three networks. The app also will feature wild game and fish recipes from such shows as Sportsman Channel’s The Sporting Chef With Scott Leysath.
“You can type in ‘Oklahoma whitetail,’ and every show that we have in our library that features Oklahoma whitetail hunting will pop up,” Liberatore said. “The hope is that those interested in the topic will say, ‘I never knew about this guy or this show’ and will watch more of the linear feed to see the shows that they weren’t aware of.”
Liberatore would not project how many subscribers the app will draw. “We realize, at $10, we will not have millions of people buying this,” he said. “We’re hoping that, working with our partners, we will be able to create something for them that will make both of us more valuable.”
REVENUE FOR MORE ORIGINALS
Revenue generated from the subscription app will be used to help develop more original programming. He added that the app will serve as a marketing tool for both Outdoor Sportsman Group and its distributors to showcase the services.
“You almost look at this as a huge marketing play for the linear network,” he said. “Our linear business is our backbone, heart and soul, and we aren’t trying to build a separate business to deviate from that. We’re trying to build a business that grows that, and what we’re putting together could be a great model that consumers like and [that] introduces [them] to our network that will have a lot of benefits for our distributors.”