Cinedigm Launching eSports Streaming Service1 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Cinedigm March 1 announced it would co-launch The WHAM Network, an over-the-top streaming service targeting electronic gaming.
The Los Angeles-based distributor is partnering with Gary Kleinman, who founded The WHAM Network last year as a platform producing original entertainment programming on the lifestyle and culture of electronic gaming.
Cinedigm currently operates Dove Channel, Docurama and CONtv, which have approximately 3.3 million combined app downloads, 610,000 registered users and 80,000 active subscribers.
WHAM claims to have 20 original series slated for production, with a target of at least 160 hours of original programming this year. Content ranges from news, celebrity gaming, and documentaries to reality, gaming competitions and live event coverage.
Time Warner last year launched ELEAGUE on TBS — a team-based 10-week competition series additionally streamed on Amazon’s Twitch.com.
Reports suggest electronic sports, or e-Sports, where video game play has morphed into competitive leagues, is projected to generated $1.1 billion in revenue and attract 145 million enthusiasts by 2019.
“Given the huge global market and fast growing consumer obsession with eSports and gaming, we fully expect this channel to resonate with audiences and provide a tremendous growth opportunity,” Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement.
WHAM will be hosting Button Mash Live, a consumer-centric gaming festival to be held in Los Angeles in October. Button Mash Live will be one of the first dedicated outdoor festivals for gamers of all levels and all games.
“WHAM Network is the perfect addition to our family of OTT brands,” said Erick Opeka, EVP of digital networks at Cinedigm. “Along with complementing our existing channels, our platform partners are intrigued by the concept, and we expect significant distribution for the network in year one.”