MCE to launch channels dedicated to water pursuits and lifestyles

EVERETT, Wash. – Two new water lifestyle television channels from MCE Television Networks, Inc, will debut in October, according to a statement from the company yesterday.

Programming is designed specifically for those who enjoy a lifestyle on or near the water. The new channels will provide viewers with both lifestyle programming, via the Water Channel, and consumer-oriented programming coupled with a Web site home shopping experience, via Club Blue.

Marine industry veteran George Sullivan sees the new venture as an opportunity to bring the water recreation and sports industry together.

Sullivan signed on as executive vice president of sales and marketing for the network, bringing with him over 35 years of experience in the marine industry including as senior vice president of marketing for Genmar Holdings, and vice president of marketing and communications for U.S. Marine.

“Our goal is to connect people with their passions,” Sullivan said. “While we certainly will appeal to the boater and angler, we will also have programming for those who are passionate about surfing, water skiing, diving, pleasure cruising or living on or near the water. Our target audience includes all those for whom water is a defining element of their lifestyle.”

MCE has assembled a team of producers, writers and directors from senior levels of the broadcast and entertainment industries. The company also believes that by developing programming with a broader appeal, the final product will help aggregate the marine industry.

MCE has developed the programming of both channels to work hand-in-hand. If the Water Channel has a program featuring the best cruise destinations in the world, Club Blue will be running programs that offer discounts on the very same cruise packages. On Club Blue, sportsmen can get a great deal on a bass starter fishing rod and reel kit, while the Water Channel is covering a national bass fishing championship.

Both networks are supported by an e-commerce and info-commerce site where viewers and shoppers can purchase product, order additional information, book a vacation or charter, read product reviews, and access programming guides.

Club Blue and the Water Channel will launch in October on the Dish Network, initially reaching approximately 12 million homes. The company will expand its reach in 2006 with Time Warner and Cox Cable increasing the networks’ reach to 32 million.

MCE has partners in Asia who plan to launch the Water Channel and Club Blue in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and parts of mainland China.

“This is the culmination of a dream for me,” Sullivan said. “Through the years I’ve seen many attempts to bring together the whole universe of people who enjoy a lifestyle of being on or around the water, but no one has been able to develop a complete package. And, too often, efforts have been on dealer loading rather than increasing retail sell-through. Our entire effort is retail driven.

“By integrating our television programming with the internet, we hope to grow all facets of the industry and build a solid base of consumers who enjoy being around the water,” he explained.

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