Seacrest, AEG, CAA unite to relaunch HDNet as AXS TV

Ryan Seacrest Media, AEG and the Creative Artists Agency have united for a joint venture that will see HDNet and HDNet Canada rebranded and relaunched as AXS TV.
January 19, 2012

Ryan Seacrest Media, AEG and the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) have united for a joint venture that will see HDNet and HDNet Canada rebranded and relaunched as AXS TV.

Scheduled to debut this summer, the rebranded channel (pronounced “access”) will use the reach and resources of the three companies to create live entertainment and lifestyle programming. HDNet is currently a male-skewing lifestyle channel.

With AEG’s strength in live events and affiliation with many of the music industry’s major venues worldwide, AXS TV will aim to provide viewers with exclusive behind-the-scenes access to live concerts and music festivals, red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events, and interviews with artists.

HDNet’s signature programming, which includes HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, Dan Rather Reports, and its Sunday concert series, will continue on AXS TV, as will “select non-scripted series.” Financial terms of the new venture were not disclosed.

Dish, America’s third largest pay-TV provider, has 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,” the joint venture partners said.

Mark Cuban, co-founder and chairman of HDNet, said: “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 CEO of AEG, added: “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.

“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.”

Ryan Seacrest Media holds an ownership stake in AXS TV, and as part of the deal, Ryan Seacrest Productions 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,” said Seacrest. “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.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.