FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
NBCUNIVERSAL EXPANDS GOLF CHANNEL’S INTERNATIONAL REACH WITH STRATEGIC AGREEMENTS WITHIN INFLUENTIAL JAPANESE GOLF MARKET
Partnership with AbemaTV to Provide Golf Channel Content to Younger-Skewing (18-34 Demo) Viewers of the OTT Digital Platform
Partnership with Japanese Linear TV Platform WOWOW to Feature Majority of 2017 LPGA Tour Schedule and Original Programming
ORLANDO, Fla. (February 28, 2017) – Golf Channel, the network Arnold Palmer co-founded 22 years ago, and NBCUniversal (NBCU) International Distribution today announced two new distribution agreements in Japan, one of golf’s most influential international markets and host of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. One is with AbemaTV, Inc., a free, ad-funded, over-the-top digital platform application, which recently launched its golf-specific stream to complement its existing sports stream which includes soccer, baseball and professional wrestling. Through the agreement with NBCU International Distribution, AbemaTV’s golf stream will feature Golf Channel programming that includes: tournament coverage of the LPGA and European Tour, as well as a slate of high-quality news and instruction programming, including Golf Central, The Golf Fix and Golf Channel Academy.
The commencement of the partnership has immediately provided AbemaTV’s golf stream viewers with a strong slate of compelling programming, beginning with the kickoff of the 2017 LPGA Tour season. With more than 10 million app downloads, AbemaTV has experienced rapid growth since launching in April 2016, particularly in the adults 18-34 demo. The partnership will see both sides work in collaboration on marketing, integration and promotional assets as it relates to Golf Channel programming within the AbemaTV app.
The other new agreement in the Japanese market is with linear TV platform WOWOW, which will significantly expand its coverage of LPGA Tour events for its nearly 3 million subscribers. Additionally, Golf Channel’s production of all North American LPGA events will provide support to WOWOW’s golf programming, and the partnership will expand WOWOW’s golf-content offering to feature high-quality Golf Channel original programming.
“Golf is a global game, and Golf Channel’s deep commitment to covering all facets of the sport helps to serve golf fans around the world through partners like AbemaTV and WOWOW,” said Phil Piazza, Golf Channel Senior Vice President, Programming. “Golf fans are some of the most affluent and highly engaged viewers who appreciate not only the action of professional tournament coverage around the world, but also the insightful news and analysis on Golf Central, as well as award-winning original programming like Feherty and the critically acclaimed slate of Golf Films.”
“The appeal of golf programming continues to grow around the world,” said Belinda Menendez, President, NBCUniversal International Distribution & Networks. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to expand upon our existing relationships with AbemaTV and WOWOW through these new agreements, partnering with them in delivering top-quality golf and sports content.”
In the U.S., Golf Channel in 2016 matched its highest-rated year ever for the third consecutive year (.08 U.S. household rating, 24-hour total day 6AM-6PM) since the network was founded 22 years ago. Since becoming part of NBCUniversal in 2011, Golf Channel has scored its six best years ever and has increased ratings +60% and viewership +53% over that span, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Viewership growth was driven in part by millennials with impressions for persons 25-34 increasing +33% in total day, a mark that has doubled over the past two years, as well as +43% in primetime. Also in 2016, Golf Channel continued as the No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network in both total day and primetime for the third consecutive year with the highest median household income.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available to nearly 500 million viewers in 73 countries and nine languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel Digital delivers unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Channel Mobile and the NBC Sports App, both powered by Playmaker Media. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.
ABOUT NBCUNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION
NBCUniversal International Distribution is responsible for the distribution of NBCUniversal product to all forms of television and new media outside of the U.S. and Canada. This includes a rich library of more than 4,200 feature films and 110,000 television episodes, including current and classic titles, non-scripted programming, sports, news, long-form and short-form programming, and locally produced content from around the world.