Mark Cuban is rebranding HDNet as AXS TV (pronounced “access”) with AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) as new partners. Dish Network, which already distributes HDNet, will also play an expanded role.
“I’m incredibly excited to be in business with AEG, Ryan Seacrest, and CAA,” said Mark Cuban, Co-Founder and Chairman, HDNet. “This is a major step on our way to offering more live programming than any other entertainment and lifestyle network. And our partnership with Dish to offer unique subscriber services will allow AXS TV to change the value proposition between networks, distributors, and subscribers. AXS TV will unquestionably be able to leverage our unique assets to do things no other network will be able to replicate.”
Scheduled to debut this summer, AXS TV said it will leverage the global reach and portfolio of content opportunities of its partners to create live entertainment and lifestyle programming. Capitalizing on AEG’s unrivaled presence in live events and affiliation with more than 100 of the industry’s pre-eminent venues worldwide, AXS TV will provide viewers with exclusive behind-the-scenes access to live concerts and music festivals, red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events, and in-depth interviews with the people and artists who make live entertainment so uniquely fascinating.
HDNet’s signature programming including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, award-winning Dan Rather Reports, Sunday concert series, and select non-scripted series will continue on AXS TV.
As part of their agreement with the joint venture, Dish will offer a variety of unique music services to their subscribers. Dish has also agreed to expand its carriage of the rebranded HDNet by offering it in the America’s Top 120 programming package, bringing millions more Dish customers access to the rebranded channel and resulting in AXS TV reaching well over 35 million North American households. In addition to the increased distribution of the re-branded network, Dish will begin offering a large selection of AXS-branded Video On Demand concerts starting on March 15, 2012.
With production facilities at AEG’s owned and operated L.A. LIVE, as well as their access to their worldwide network of the busiest venues of all sizes, AXS TV said it will have the inside track to programming that will connect audiences with the complete live experience. From show creation and development to rehearsals, sound-check and performance and right thru the after-party, viewers will get an immersive look into their favorite acts touring today, AXS TV will span the globe to bring viewers the best live entertainment events.
AEG is very pleased to be involved with Mark Cuban and HDNet and equally as proud to have partners like Ryan Seacrest Media and CAA,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG. “The live business continues to grow and expand and the ability to give fans the opportunity to experience live in a different way is something we have been looking for a way to do for years.”
Along with Dish, AXS TV will continue to be available on HDNet’s existing distributors including DirecTV, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, NCTC-member systems, Suddenlink and Shaw (in Canada).
Ryan Seacrest Media holds an ownership stake in AXS TV, and will provide access to multi-media platforms, and celebrity and brand relationships, as well as assist in the corporate brand development for AXS TV. As part of the deal, Ryan Seacrest Productions, an independent entertainment production company, will also develop and produce programming for AXS TV.
“Over the last year, we’ve been diligently working with our partners AEG and CAA to strategize and explore how we could deliver quality live entertainment and lifestyle programming to a large audience. HDNet is the perfect partner to help us translate our vision into a reality, giving us an instant reach into 35 million homes when we rebrand the channel and launch AXS TV,” said Ryan Seacrest. “Mark Cuban and Tim Leiweke bring a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial experience and spirit to this venture, and I’m confident our collective collaboration will make AXS a success,” he added.
CAA will access its extensive experience, expertise, and relationships in entertainment to help create valuable content relationships for the network and provide strategic advisory services in the areas of corporate development, marketing, technology, and brand integration and sponsorship, among others. Seacrest is represented by CAA.
“We have worked closely with AEG and Ryan Seacrest to conceptualize a new network that could benefit from our combined resources and create a new distribution opportunity for artists and content creators and their high-quality entertainment and lifestyle programming,” said David O’Connor, Managing Partner, CAA.
Financial terms of the new venture were not disclosed.