Surf Channel hoping to make waves on TV
August, 14, 2012
By Jeff Dinunzio | ESPN.com
Sean Rowland/ASP via Getty ImagesThe upcoming Surf Channel sent several videographers to the U.S. Open of Surfing last week, but whether they will broadcast live surfing events is still up in the air.As migrating spectators kicked up a dust cloud that hung above the retail tents along the main concourse at last week's US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach., Calif., the energy of surfing's popularity surged more than the lackluster swell. But from Steve Bellamy's perch, the founder and CEO of the Ski and Tennis Channels believes that elsewhere in the world the surfing community is underserved. To rectify that, Bellamy announced during the Open that his latest project, the Surf Channel, would debut in September.
"My desire to create the channel was born out of the fact that the category is so broad [and] impacts so many people," Bellamy said. "I felt I could do a lot for surfing with my television acumen."
Surf Channel -- which is presently short on specifics such as a launch date and programming lineup -- aims to cater to an audience that often relies entirely on the Internet for its multimedia fix. Bellamy said beginning with distribution is key.
"It starts with getting on those big cable, satellite, telco operators. It's hard to get on those platforms...you're competing with gigantic media companies for [limited] bandwidth," he said.
Bellamy's prior television endeavors made reaching those platforms easier his third time around. Cox Communications and DirecTV are preparing to air Surf Channel next month as an on-demand sports option. Surf Channel will not occupy a fixed channel slot. Comcast and Dish Network are also reportedly on board. Once the logistics are enabled, Bellamy asserts, "then it becomes all about the content."
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