JumpTV surges ahead with sports strategy

Toronto's ethnic Internet TV broadcaster is paying millions for US sports properties - and then going even farther afield.

Toronto-based multicultural Internet broadcaster JumpTV is adding to its roster of sports content by acquiring the Broadband Network business unit of XOS Technologies, a Florida-based sports broadcaster. The US$60.25-million-deal, expected to close in August, will give JumpTV broadband-exclusive access to more than 150 US college and university sporting properties, including the official website for sports teams and leagues.

TXOS’ Broadband Network streams thousands of NCAA games, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and track & field events. It has about 24,000 subscribers and attracted about 4.9 million unique visitors in March 2007, according to Nielsen Ratings. Heading into July and following its launch of more than 100 free-to-consumer channels in the US, JumpTV had 29,968 subscribers.

The network’s strategy moving forward will be a hybrid subscription and ad-supported business model with an emphasis on partner-based distribution, along with merchandising and portal partnerships. Its ethnic programming business will be grouped in a newly named ‘JumpTV International’ division with key sporting assets – such as FIFA championship soccer tournaments in Canada, Euro2008 qualifying matches, Egyptian Football Federation and Israeli Football League games – transferring to the JumpTVSports division.