ORIGINAL: PWInsider has more details on the deal between iMPACT! Wrestling and The Pursuit Channel that was announced yesterday. iMPACT! will debut on the network on Friday, January 11 at 10 PM ET.
iMPACT! sees the move as financially beneficial and the network is said to be happy to have the promotion. Anthem Media owns the Pursuit network, which focuses on men’s outdoors programming like fishing and hunting. However, the network has a smaller audience than POP TV or Destination America. Several major cable providers like Comcast don’t carry it and others like Verizon Fios have it on their paid tier.
It’s unknown how iMPACT! will make the show available to fans who don’t get the channel or if they will release the episodes to Twitch or Youtube as MLW does. Pursuit Channel has a Roku channel called Pursuit Up, but it doesn’t include live programming. With the smaller audience, it will likely be harder for iMPACT! to get advertisers and sponsors.
iMPACT! is pleased with their relationship with Pop TV. Sources said that they went from a barter deal on advertising when they started to getting paid a free by the network (around $1 million a year) on top of splitting ad revenue (another $1-2 million). They added that the network went “out of their way” to work with Impact. POP TV is expected to be rebranding in 2019 and Impact didn’t fit into those plans.
The debut episode on Pursuit will include material taped on January 7 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Arena, just after the Homecoming PPV. This is the company’s third new channel after leaving SpikeTV in 2014. Pursuit, which started in 2008 as a DirecTV exclusive channel, said in June that they had seven million unique viewers in March 2018.
UPDATE: PWInsider has new details about iMPACT! Wrestling’s move from Pop TV to Pursuit Channel that was announced on Friday. The site reports that the new television deal is not exclusive, and that part of the reason for the move is as a stopgap measure where iMPACT! doesn’t have to worry about finding a home right away as they seek a larger deal.
According to the outlet, those in charge at iMPACT! wanted to move off Pop TV because there was concern that as Pop continues to shift its brand, iMPACT! would become more and more of a sore thumb sticking out for the network. As such, it was felt that moving out and maintaining a good relationship was the smarter move.
The new deal is fully expected to see the viewership shrink and there are some who aren’t happy about that. Anthem is a partial owner in Pursuit, and there has been some interest from the channel in carrying other iMPACT! Wrestling programming such as Xplosion or a “Best Of” series. The move also gives them more flexibility and leeway for possible moves to other timeslots. Pursuit’s officials are said to be “happy to have iMPACT!.”
It is expected that iMPACT!will Fridays at 10 PM on The Fight Network in Canada, so that the shows can air at the same time.