It's been several days since the announcement of the TV deal with Pop and now that the excitement has settled down a bit, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the biggest pro of this deal, and that's Pop's reach nationally compared to Destination America's. Pop reaches 80+ million households and by March of 2016, the network will be available in approximately 85 million homes. DestAm's reach is approximately 57 million households - a difference of approximately 25 million homes. But it's important to note that the difference is much bigger, and I'll tell you why. Pop is part of your basic cable package so you either have the channel or you don't. 80+ million homes have and can access Pop. DestAm, however, may be available in 57 million homes but it is accessible to many of whom who must opt to upgrade their cable package for an additional fee per month. Now the question becomes how many homes had access to Destination America, and although we're not privy to that sort of information, someone who works in the cable industry estimated that that number could be as low as 30 million. So essentially, you have a situation where Impact's reach could conceivably improve by 50 million homes on January 5th. That's a lot of viewers.
I found it interesting that the day after TNA and Pop announced their deal, the president of Pop, Brad Schwartz, joined Dixie Carter for an exclusive interview with PWInsider. This is noteworthy because I can't remember a time when a television executive, let alone the head of a network, agreeing to do an interview with a wrestling site. This fact alone is an indication that Pop may be a good fit for Impact, hopefully for the next several years, but it's also what Schwartz said in the interview that's significant. He praised Impact for its accomplishments on SpikeTV, and particularly the show's ability to draw over one million viewers on a weekly basis for an entire year. Impact did this for the better part of nine years. Not nine seasons, nine years.
Schwartz also informed the listeners that Pop signed a multi-year deal with TNA to air Impact on Tuesday nights at 9PM EST, starting on January 5th, and according to Dixie Carter, the deal includes a replay of Impact. Whether or not the replay airs immediately following the original episode was not specified however. Some will note that the DestAm deal was initially multi-year in order to disparage this deal but I suspect that Pop's deal is along the lines of Spike's deals with TNA, where the show will be given ample time to find and grow its audience.
Overall, I truly feel that this is a very good deal for TNA. By March, Impact will be available in 85 million homes on a network that's owned by CBS and Lionsgate, both of which were heavily involved in the negotiations. Pop's identity opens up the sort of doors for TNA and its talents that DestAm simply couldn't. A pop culture network will expose Impact to a new and bigger audience, the likes of which could be treated to crossover events featuring TNA wrestlers and CBS programs such as the Amazing Race and Big Brother. Last year, viewers of the Amazing Race were introduced to Robbie E and Brooke, also known as The Wrestlers, many of them even watching the weekly replay on Pop. Imagine if that happened in 2016. A young unknown duo simply described as 'the wrestlers' would suddenly become Impact Wrestling stars who can also be seen on Tuesday nights, only on Pop. It's funny, when Billy Corgan first joined TNA, he mentioned that he wanted to see wrestling, and the promotion in particular, become part of pop culture - a mainstream phenomenon embraced by the masses for its relevant and socially aware characters and stories. I have a strong feeling that Corgan is somewhere smiling right now just thinking of the opportunities that will come because of TNA's deal with Pop. 2016 will be a very interesting year for TNA, and it all starts on Tuesday, January 5th, live from Bethlehem, PA. I said this on Twitter yesterday...if you're a TNA fan who jumped off the bandwagon in 2015, I suggest you hop back on because it's going to be a fun ride.