GRACE CREEK MEDIA BUYS MAG RACK

By: Kent Gibbons
Multichannel News

Grace Creek Media, owner of video-on-demand programmer Sportskool Networks, has acquired Mag Rack Entertainment, owner of the Mag Rack VOD network. The parties did not disclose financial terms. Both Mag Rack and Sportskool were originally created and owned by Rainbow Media, then part of Cablevision Systems (the cable operator now owned by Altice). Rainbow sold Mag Rack and Sportskool in 2008.

These networks’ pay-TV affiliates make programming available as free VOD shows, with Mag Rack’s most popular fare falling under the fitness and kids’ categories, followed by videos about fishing and kids’ shows, Joe Covey, CEO of Mag Rack Entertainment, said. He said Mag Rack had doubled its distribution base while he and business partner Matthew Davidge owned it, adding Cox Communications and satellite-TV providers DirecTV and Dish Network as affiliates and launching on Comcast under a deal signed while Rainbow owned Mag Rack.

Mag Rack originally launched in 2001 as a pioneering equivalent to a “magazine store” under Rainbow’s auspices, forming content pacts with publishers such as Primedia, owner of American Baby and Hot Rod. Rainbow expanded into the Sportskool sports-instruction videos in 2003.

Grace Creek Media’s Sportskool Networks include the free-VOD channels Sportskool and Sportskool Fit. “We are thrilled to add Mag Rack to our growing list of distribution platforms. Cable VOD provides an unmatched opportunity to reach viewers on multiple screens,” Andrew Walworth, president of Annapolis, Md.-based Grace Greek Media, said in a statement. “Further, we look forward to expanding its reach to new platforms, both in the U.S. and abroad.”

While Mag Rack had focused on set-top-based providers, Sportskool has also branched out to over-the-top providers, Covey said. Covey and Davidge also owned Concert TV, a live music VOD service, and sold it to Stingray Digital (which also owns The Karaoke Channel) in 2010.

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