Tennis Channel to sell subscription streaming package directly to consumers

In a move meant to exploit the hundreds of hours of match coverage it doesn't have room for on its linear pay TV platform, the Tennis Channel is offering a streaming product directly to consumers, even those who don't subscribe to a pay TV service.

Timed to the first day of the French Open, Tennis Channel Plus will run subscribers $59.99 for access to 300 live matches a year from 40 tournaments around the world. Subscribers to the new online channel, which will be housed in the Tennis Channel Everywhere app, can also watch archival footage of historic matches.

Weary of stepping on the toes of its pay TV partners, with which it hasn't always seen eye-to-eye, Tennis Channel executives note the similarity of the offering to streaming apps offered by Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and World Wrestling Entertainment, which also market secondary online products to augment their primary pay TV outlets.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the independent, Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel--which touts sports marketing giant IMG and former tennis pros Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as investors--is giving its pay TV partners a share of the new streaming channel's profits.

"Tennis Channel Plus is not meant to replace the linear Tennis Channel," Adam Ware, head of digital media for indie channel, told the Times. "Instead it is a completely complementary service."

The Tennis Channel currently has around 35 million subscribers.

For more:
- read this Los Angeles Times story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links:
Tennis Channel vs. Comcast - Worst programming disputes of all time
WWE's Barrios: We can't underestimate impact of shift to online video
Shifting consumer behavior driving personalization of pay-TV content

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