Ryan Seacrest somehow found time to partner his Ryan Seacrest Media with HDNet, AEG and CAA on a joint venture that begins with rebranding Mark Cuban’s HDNet as AXS TV and encompasses music and lifestyle programming, live pay-per-view concerts, an online auditioning site and more.
AXS TV will launch in a few months as a live entertainment and lifestyle channel. Financial terms of the new venture were not disclosed, but each of the partners brings a different element to the package.
Ryan Seacrest Media, which holds an ownership stake in AXS TV, will provide access to multi-media platforms, assist in corporate brand development, and spearhead celebrity and brand relationships for AXS TV. In addition, his independent entertainment production company Ryan Seacrest Productions will develop and produce programming for the new channel.
AEG’s role is multifaceted. AXS TV will have a studio at the AEG-owned and operated L.A. Live, the complex in downtown Los Angeles that includes Staples Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Club Nokia and The Grammy Museum’s Clive Davis Theater. It also will provide direct access to those and other AEG venues of all sizes. This will enable AXS TV to deliver the complete experience surrounding live entertainment events, including rehearsals, sound-check and performance “and right thru the after-party,” the company said.
Dish will expand its existing relationship with HDNet by including AXS TV in its America’s Top 120 programming package, which will deliver it to over 35 million households. This package is just one tier above Dish’s basic DishFamily package. AXS TV will continue to be available on HDNet’s other existing distributors, however, including DirecTV, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, NCTC-member systems, Suddenlink and Shaw (in Canada).
Beginning on March 15, Dish also will offer AXS-branded video on demand concerts of performances captured at AEG live events. Additionally, Dish will undertake to offer viewers ticket packages made possible by AEG that will include things like premium seating, private viewing areas and specials on refreshments.
Later in the year, scheduled for August 1, Dish and AXS TV will launch an online audition site called AXS Headliner Club that will provide local bands and musicians the opportunity to be considered for performance slots at an AEG-affiliated club or theater.
CAA will do what it always does, create valuable content relationships for the network and provide strategic advisory services. Ryan Seacrest is represented by CAA.
Popular existing HDNet programs including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, Dan Rather Reports, its Sunday concert series some other non-scripted series will continue on AXS TV.
Each of the participants issued a statement.
Ryan Seacrest (pictured): “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. 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.”
Mark Cuban, co-founder and chairman, HDNet: “I’m incredibly excited to be in business with AEG, Ryan Seacrest, and CAA. 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.”
Timothy J. Leiweke, president and chief executive officer, AEG: “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. 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. As part of a point of emanation for content, we are excited to provide the resources of L.A. Live, the O2 and our London campus among the many assets we are bringing into the partnership. In addition, we are excited that AXS TV will have a host studio at L.A. Live. This is a natural tie-in for our ticketing platform, axs Ticketing, as well as our facilities around the world. This is a platform for all agents, all promoters and all managers. It is not the creation of an AEG channel. It is about the fans and bringing the live experience to them.”
Joe Clayton, chief executive officer, Dish: “AXS TV brings Dish subscribers a premier TV destination for concert-goers to watch the most popular concert acts and provide opportunities for unique ticket sales at venues near them. The new Dish is all about ‘more music, more movies, and more magic.’ So, we’re pleased to provide a majority of our subscribers front row seats to this innovative channel.”
David O’Connor, managing partner, 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. Mark Cuban and his HDNet make a terrific partner for this venture, and we look forward to joining forces to help build AXS into a premier cable destination for entertainment enthusiasts.”