Admittedly, I knew nothing of Destination America before today.
I had a hunch that WGN America was going to be the new home of TNA Impact Wrestling. I guess in a way I was half right. There’s “America” in the channel name, but it’s Destination America. Alas a quick check to my DirecTV Guide and I do not see the channel in my lineup.
So what’s a Destination America? And why should I care?
Destination America is a relatively new channel that is owned and operated by Discovery Networks, the same company behind Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC. At first glance, this may seem like a demotion into an unfitting environment. Swamp Monsters? Ghost Asylum? Amish Haunting? These all sound like shows well outside the demographic that would watch a pro wrestling show.
At first glance, this may seem like an odd pairing at best. But I munched on some of the facts, and have laid out some potential pros and cons of TNA’s new home. Keep in mind I’m hardly an expert on the Entertainment Business, so I could be WAAAY off. But it’s fun to speculate now that we actually have something to speculate about.
-Approximately 60 million homes have the capability of getting Destination America. It seems their main distributors are DirecTV, Dish Network, and U-verse. And, as my DirecTV package is an example of, some homes that can get it don’t because of the TV package.
-Destination America is way down on the list of Discovery Networks. Discovery proper, TLC, and Animal Planet are the biggest channels in the Discovery family. All three of those have nearly twice the coverage, and are household names. Trying to find new stations can be unappealing to potential viewers who have to look through hundreds of channels on their grids.
-TNA risks their current viewers forgetting about the show when they can’t find it on their listings. Admittedly I think this is a less likely scenario, since TNA has proven to have a pretty loyal fanbase.
-Impact Wrestling will clearly be given a pole position on this new network. Already the announcement is front and center on the Destination America web page, and all forms of their social media are decked out in Impact advertising. Without a Bellator or other network pet project to get in the way, Impact can be given a clear focus in station branding.
-Discovery has deep pockets. There are still at least six weeks left before the January premiere. This means plenty of time to run advertising all over Discovery’s major channels to get the word out
-This is a growing network. According to the press release, Destination America has had 10 straight quarters of increased viewership across all demos. This means demand for the channel is increasing. Factor in a name commodity that may very well bring a packaged audience, and those growth quarters can continue. Growth equals happy network, and a more prosperous future.
So there you have it. A few thoughts from my dome about Destination America. Yes it’s a step down in immediate audience size, but there is potential for Impact Wrestling to be the face of a network, rather than one of many ducks being put in a row. We’ll see what January 2015 holds for the wrestling world. Between a shift in Impact focus and the WrestleKingdom PPV, January looks to be mighty interesting indeed.