More Details On IMPACT's New TV Deal With Pursuit
Several sources within Impact Wrestling have painted today's announced move to The Pursuit Channel as a positive, citing that financially, it will be a step forward for the company and noting that the network, which is built around men's outdoors programming, including fishing and hunting shows, are extremely happy to have Impact coming on board. Anthem Media, which owns Impact Wrestling, is a partner in the Pursuit Network, so one would think they would have a vested interest in pushing the product.
The problem is that it will be pushed to a MUCH smaller, limited audience as several major cable providers, including Comcast, don't carry Pursuit while others, such as Verizon Fios, only have it as part of a paid tier, so those who want to watch the show will have to pay more for it. You can find out whether you get Pursuit by clicking here.
There is no word yet as to whether Impact will release the episodes on Twitch or YouTube to make them available for those who cannot get the series another way. The Pursuit Channel does have a Roku channel, Pursuit Up, but does not live stream content there.
Impact had spoken with a number of cable outlets about potentially shifting there, but the fact that they were unable to score a deal anywhere other than a network that their parent company has a vested interest in doesn't speak well for how those conversations went. It's always possible the series was moved to Pursuit as a placeholder location while discussions with a larger, stronger platform continue, but if that's the case, we haven't heard that. With the limited scope that Pursuit has, something even more limited than Pop or Destination America, one would think it's going to be even harder for Impact to score sponsors and advertisers.
Impact sources had nothing but positive things to say about Pop on the way out, noting that they went from a barter deal on advertising to getting paid a fee by the network (believed to be worth $1 million per year) on top of the ad split (which sources have claimed brought another $1-2 million per year) and that everyone at the network went out of their way to work with them. With the exception of the most recent time change move coming out before Impact would have preferred, no one I spoke to had any complaints about Pop. I know that in the past Pop Network President Bradley Schwartz had been very excited about having Impact on, but there are a lot of changes in terms of how the channel will be branded going into 2019 and Impact, for what they were delivering in terms of an audience, wasn't going to be factored into those plans.
Impact will debut on Pursuit HD on 1/11 with material filmed on 1/7/19 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Arena aka the TNA Asylum, coming out of the 1/6/19 Homecoming PPV. It will be the company's third new home on cable since departing the now-defunct SpikeTV in 2014.
Pursuit was launced in 2008, initially as a DirecTV exclusive channel. A press release issued by the network in June 2018 touted that the network had seven million unique viewers in March 2018.