HDNet will soon fade off into the sunset, as AXS TV is replacing the all high definition channel. The deal brings Ryan Seacrest into the fold, as the American Idol host will team with HDNet owner Mark Cuban. So what will new AXS TV (pronounced “Access TV”) bring to cable and satellite television audiences?
From early reports the new channel looks to be a different flavor of the E! entertainment network. The network will rely heavily on partners AEG and Seacreast for content and management direction, and will feature lifestyle programming along with live concerts and coverage of red carpet events. While the E! channel focuses on TV and movie celebrities, AXS TV seems to be looking to the music world for content.
A few HDNet shows will carry over to AXS TV, including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, and Dan Rather Reports.
HDNet was launched in 2002, when HD channels were few and far between. In recent years, the channel has morphed primarily into a men’s interest channel, as MMA content makes up a large part of the programming lineup. HDNet has also been dropped from major cable providers like Time Warner, Bright House, RCN and Mediacom in the last few years, meaning fewer viewers nationally for the HD channel.
As part of the new agreement, AXS TV will find a wider audience on DISH Network. The satellite television company agreed to carry AXS on its America’s Top 120 programming package, meaning more viewers nationally. With the DISH agreement, AXS TV expects to be in 35 million homes at the launch during summer 2012.
Will AXS TV be a success in the competitive cable environment? Securing new carriage deals with cable providers the dropped HDNet will be a must if the network expects to be a long term survivor.