Sports Illustrated, an American sports media franchise most famous for its magazine, has launched a linear 24/7 channel on sports-first live streaming TV service fuboTV. Through a distribution agreement with Sports Illustrated TV, the company’s OTT division, fuboTV becomes the first multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) to carry Sports Illustrated’s OTT service. This also marks the official launch of SI TV as a 24/7 linear channel.
“The opportunity to expand our distribution for the first time to linear TV with premier provider fuboTV is an incredible moment for our network,” said Josh Oshinsky, head of programming for SI TV at Meredith Corporation. “Now even more TV-watching sports lovers will have access to content that has Sports Illustrated’s unparalleled storytelling, perspective and access. From original documentaries to studio shows to beloved sports-related acquired movies and shows, fuboTV’s subscribers can rely on SI TV for the most compelling sports stories, interviews, analysis and entertainment.”
Since launching on Amazon Channels in November 2017, SI TV has doubled its programming and now includes original weekly studio shows such as “The Crossover,” which focuses on basketball culture with guests that include Big Daddy Kane, Cookie Monster and Roy Wood, Jr.; “Planet Fútbol” with Grant Wahl exploring soccer with top flight guests from around the world; and “The Line,” about sports wagering and daily fantasy.
The launching of linear digital channels has been a growing trend among digital publishers in recent months. At the end of last year Bloomberg Media launched a 24/7 network on Twitter; OTT service Revry recently launched a 24/7 channel on Pluto TV; and Machinima, Jukin, Cinedigm, and Omnia Media all launched linear channels on social video platform Twitch. However, it is still yet to be seen if standing up a linear digital channel — especially on platforms like Twitch and Pluto TV, which don’t require a monthly subscription– is a smart move for publishers, whom more and more of are putting their content behind paywalls.
One worry that digital publishers have with distributing content through a 24/7 “Always on” channel, is the possibility of devaluing their library. Machinima GM Russell Arons elaborated on this concern in a recent interview with Videoink, where she explained Machinima’s experience launching an “Always On” channel in partnership with Twitch. Click here to read her experience with the platform.
SI TV will fall into fuboTV’s “Sports Plus” package, which features more than 15 channels and is available to subscribers for an additional $8.99.