TVN Entertainment Corp. will throw its hat into the
pay-per-view event ring with the distribution of two niche events later this year.
In August, the company will distribute Cirque du Soleil:
Quidam, the first PPV telecast of the popular Cirque du Soleil
The following month, TVN will distribute Canyon Walk,
featuring acclaimed high-wire artist Philippe Petit. The event will feature Petit walking
across the Grand Canyon on a high wire.
Both events will sell at a suggested retail price of
$19.95. While TVN will serve as distributor, the shows will also be carried on
Viewer's Choice and DirecTV Inc.
TVN senior vice president of new programming development
and distribution Steve Rockabrand said the company is attempting to create a new category
of special PPV events to complement the traditional and successful boxing and wrestling
categories. "Nothing like these two events has previously been seen on
pay-per-view," Rockabrand said. "They don't fall into the typical PPV-event
categories such as boxing, wrestling and concerts, and Canyon Walk will be a
Viewer's Choice senior vice president of programming
Michael Klein said the events would hopefully draw new viewers into the category.
"Both shows will move PPV into unforeseen territory," Klein said. "It will
be interesting to see how they perform, but we hope they all do well."
Cirque du Soleil has performed and toured with a total of
more than 10 different live shows since its inception in 1984. Its "Quidam"
troupe is currently touring live in Europe, and it will continue until 2002, but the event
marks the first time any of the troupe's shows have aired on television.
"It's a unique performance that the whole family
can sit down and enjoy," Rockabrand said. "The cost of a ticket is at least
$100, but we wanted to bring that experience to TV."
Meanwhile, Canyon Walk will feature not only the
French-born high-wire artist's attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon, but also
music and celebrity appearances, Rockabrand said.
The show, which will take place over the Navajo Nation
Tribal Lands at the Grand Canyon, will also feature taped segments including the
preparation and rigging of the high wire; footage and stills from previous Petit walks;
and a look at Navajo culture.
Petit is best known in the United States for crossing
between the "Twin Towers" of New York's World Trade Center in 1974.
Rockabrand would not reveal the breakeven performance point
for either show, but he did say the company is looking at several other PPV events to
distribute in the future. "We are looking at one-dozen other PPV opportunities that
are unique for the PPV category," he added.