Outdoor Life Network is enjoying early success peddling a subscription-based Internet package to cycling fans seeking expanded live coverage of the ongoing 2005 Giro d’Italia tournament.
The network is streaming live, weekday coverage of the May 7-29 tournament on its Web site (www.olntv.com) for a package price of $5.95. It’s been offering the daily two-to-three-hour feed on OLNTV.com as a means to supplement two-hour Saturday and Sunday tournament wrap-up shows, OLN vice president of business development Brad Friedrich said.
As of press time, Friedrich said the network has already generated nearly 7,000 PPV buys for the Internet offer.
“We started off looking at it as an initiative to serve our viewers on weekdays when we’re not broadcasting [the Giro tour] and we’ve gotten a great response,” Friedrich said. “It’s been very successful so far.”
OLN’s streaming coverage comes from the tour’s live world feed, which doesn’t feature any commentary.
For years, OLN aired most of the tournament live, but cut back coverage for other programming that joined the lineup. But Comcast Corp.-owned OLN will still offer more than 300 live and taped hours of its signature Tour de France event in July, when Lance Armstrong attempts to conclude his career in cycling’s biggest race by extending his record winning streak to seven.
Friedrich would not reveal OLN’s operational costs for the project, but said the network has already “more than broken even” from a revenue perspective. The network tapped various cycling publications and Web sites to promote the Internet offer.
One event that could be ripe for future OLN Internet play: the Aug. 27-Sept. 18 Vuelta a Espana cycling tournament. “There maybe other things beyond cycling that we will look at,” Friedrich added. “What we do is serve our fans that are passionate about their sports, and in some cases where we don’t broadcast the event itself, we may look to offer it on broadband via the Internet.”