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FUEL TV
CountryAustralia
Broadcast areaAustralia and New Zealand
HeadquartersLisbon, Portugal
Programming
Language(s)English
Ownership
OwnerFUEL TV Global, S.A.
History
LaunchedMarch 2004 (Pay TV)
November 2019 (7plus)
Closed2 November 2014 (Pay TV)
Former namesFuel (2004–05)
Links
Website7plus.com.au https://plus.fuel.tv/home

Fuel TV is a sports-orientated streaming service focusing on the culture of extreme sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, surfing, BMX and FMX.

Originally launched as a weekly regional music and extreme sports broadcast in September 2001. Fuel TV aired on America WB affiliate WFLI-TV (channel 53, now a CW affiliate) in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the Saturday evening programming slot.[1]

In late 2003 News Corporation bought out the Fuel TV trademark and concept from founder Alistair Gosling and became a part of the Fox-Sports Network. As a cable and satellite channel, Fuel TV featured extreme sports programs ranging from original series, exclusive events, licensed films and creative interstitials.

After 10 years, the Fuel TV channel was re-branded as Fox Sports 2 in August 2013 following the seamless transition of Speed to Fox Sports 1. The extreme action sports network Fuel TV transformed into a purely online streaming network as FUEL.TV.[2]

More recently in 2019, Fuel TV Australia and the Seven Network signed an agreement to create a 24/7 streaming channel which runs on the 7plus platform. It also has dedicated weekend block programming on 7mate.[3]

History

Origin

Alistair Gosling, the founder and CEO (at the time) of Extreme, an Extreme Sports channel and Extreme International the Sports TV distribution and production company, first put forward the concept of an exclusive action-sports television program in early 2000.[4] Gosling floated the concept to Chris Braly, an independent producer on the WB affiliate network WFLI-TV, who eventually aired Fuel TV on channel 53 on 8 September 2001 as a regional music and extreme sports broadcast.[1]

The appeal, particularly in younger viewers, and subsequent rise of extreme action sports programs in the early 21st century lead to the continuation and growth of Fuel TV on regional television in America.[5] The program increased in popularity over its years on the WFLI network, increasing from its original 6 hour Saturday evening programming block, to a 4-hour show every Saturday and Sunday Morning.[6]

Fox Sports Takeover

Original logo, used from July 1, 2003, to August 17, 2012

David Sternberg, a producer at Fox Sports Net, eventually approached Gosling upon seeing the increasing viewership of Fuel TV with the focus of expanding the coverage of extreme sports to a wider audience. Fuel TV eventually aired its last episode on WFLI in September 2003 and became a full-time satellite and cable channel on News Corporations Fox Network.

From 2003 Fuel TV aired numerous original reality programs, including FirstHand, Drive Thru Australia, Camp Woodward and many more, which documented extreme sport stories and events. The television channel on Fox also aired live sporting events such as X-Games, Supercross 450 and namely the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).[1] In 2011, Fuel TV became the official cable home of the UFC as part of a broader agreement between Fox and The Mixed Martial Arts Promotion. By mid 2012 Fuel TV's programming consisted solely of combat sports such as MMA, boxing, as well as fighting analysis shows like UFC Tonight and The Undercard, and reruns of reality programs from Fox's sister channel Speed.[7] It also showed live coverage of all ASP World Tour men's surfing events. It was also used as an "overflow" channel for Fox Sports Australia when all three main Fox Sports are being used for other obligations and they have a fourth, motorsport/extreme sport obligation, which get shown on FUEL TV live, and delayed on Fox Sports.

Fuel TV's second logo used from 2012 until the shift to streaming network in 2014

By 2013 Fuel TV had moved away from its original concept as an extreme action sports outlet towards a mainstream, worldwide live-sports channel. The 2012-13 Premier League was aired on Fuel TV along with English Super League (Rugby League) matches.[8]

Shift to Streaming

In early 2013 the Fox Network made the decision to rebrand both its sport channels to “better align with its future growth goals”.[9] Fox's primary sport channel, Speed, was rebranded as Fox Sports 1 simultaneously with Fuel TV's rebranding as Fox Sports 2.

Online Platform

Television consumption began to change in the mid-2010s with the rise of online 24/7 streaming channels allowing consumers to access shows on demand and without a traditional television set.[10] In early 2014 Fuel TV launched an online website, Fuel.TV.com, with 24/7 streaming content of all its original reality shows as well as live sports coverage of extreme action sports events including Cape Fear Surfing, Free ride world championships and many more.[11] The platform features 900 hours of new programming every year, of those 700 hours being Live Events and 200 hours of exclusive high-quality content from 20+ Original Series, Documentaries, Talk Shows and Branded Content. It has an extensive library of over 5000 hours of award-winning programming, with the main goal of “inspiring and entertaining both action sports fans and viewers who are drawn to the sights, sounds, personalities and culture of the extreme action sport scene”. There is also an option for Fuel TV + which is a paid subscription, costing $4.99 per month, where users can access ad-free and downloadable content.[1]

7Plus Partnership

As a now independent business, after splitting with the Fox Network, Fuel TV is seen in more than 103 countries, broadcast in 5 languages to more than 770 million homes each year.[12] Following the channels switch to a purely online streaming website, Fuel TV Australia and The Seven Network signed an agreement in November 2019 that saw a 24/7 streaming channel running on the 7plus platform as well as dedicate block programming on 7mate.[13]

Fuel TV functions as a Free Advertising Television Streaming (FAST) program under The Seven Networks on demand, online streaming network 7plus.[14]

The Seven Network's coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games combined with the addition of action sports such as Skateboarding and Surfing to the games allowed Fuel TV to play a key role in distributing sports content to Australians. During the games, reruns of significant matchups in surfing and skateboarding heats were played on Fuel TV allowing those who were unable to watch the event live could re-live the action. An example of this is Australian surfer Owen Wright's Bronze medal final which was replayed 14 times on Fuel TV throughout the games.[15]  

Original Programming

Reality TV was at the forefront of television viewership across the world in the early 2000s, particularly in the US with shows such as Big Brother and Survivor. In 2001 survivor was ranked 6th on the primetime television series of the 2001–02 season, one place above Monday Night Football.[16] Celebrity lives, dating shows and extreme sports documentary's[17] present non-actors in legitimately natural settings and situations working without a script. Reality TV stakes its claim with viewers to regard its depictions as unadorned and spontaneous truthful documentation of natural reality and it was this changing television culture that gave rise to its popularity.[18] Coinciding with the rise of reality TV was launch of Fuel TV in the early 2000s who ultimately released many original series documenting the lives of extreme sports stars. These shows, which were in most cases the first of their kind, ran for many seasons and became the core programming structure of Fuel TV.

Firsthand

Firsthand is a Fuel TV original series with its premiere season airing in 2003 on the Fuel TV cable network on the Fox Network. Running its 13th season this year, Firsthand brings viewers up close and personal with the daily lives of today's top action sports athletes. Documenting athletes competition preparation and performance as well as laid back free-sessions and daily life away from sport, Firsthand offers exclusive footage of world-class pros pushing the limits of their riding. With between 16 – 18 episodes per season going for an average of around 22 minutes, Firsthand has boasted a number of all-time legends in their respective sports.[19] Some notable guests include Owen Wright, Australian pro surfer and as of 2021, Olympic Gold Medallist. Travis Pastrana, a 4-time Rally America Supercross Champion and multiple X Games Gold Medallist. Ryan Sheckler, an American professional skateboarder who was ranked 5th in Fox Weekly's “15 Most influential Skateboarders of All Time”.[20]

Camp Woodward

Camp Woodward is a world-class skateboarding and BMX facility located in Pennsylvania, USA where many professional athletes go to train and compete against the best in the world. In 2007 Fuel TV followed a group of young skateboarders and BMX riders into their 3-month training camp at Camp Woodward. Director Dave Paine documents the extreme highs and lows of the young athletes pushing their limits in an attempt to impress their well rebound coaches which include the likes of Cody Davis, Hunter Bagent and Lary Schmidt.[21] In 2022 Camp Woodward will be going into its 9th season, after being put on hold due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, with athletes coming from across the world including places like Argentina and Australia with ages ranging from just 10 years old all the way to 16 years old.

Drive Thru Australia

Premiering on March 7, 2009, on Fox Networks Fuel TV, a small crew of photographers follow pro surfers Donavon Frankenreiter, Benji Weatherley and Pat O’Connell around Australia on their journey to find secluded beaches and untouched waves. Stopping at numerous campsites in their Britz RV, the trio travel from New South Wales all the way to Western Australia, meeting many interesting people and visiting many extraordinary places. After being received well by the Australian public, the Drive Thru crew came back for a second season in 2010 this time will infamous pro surfers Andy Irons, Shane Dorian and Mark Ochilupo. Cruising up the East Coast of Australia the 13 episodes document the struggles of four wheel driving in Queensland to the exhilaration of finding perfect barrels on the South Coast of New South Wales.[22] The Drive Thru franchise has since expanded with seasons 3 – 6 located in South America, Europe and New Zealand respectively.

The Adventures of Danny and "The Dingo"

Initially airing on the Fuel TV cable television channel on the Fox Network in early 2008, the Fuel TV original reality television series documents two-time Olympic silver medallist Danny Kass and snowboarder personality Luke “The Dingo” Trembath on a cross country trip across the U.S in search of the next Grenade team member. The Fuel TV crew follows these two personalities as they participate in extreme sports such as skydiving, snowboarding and bungee jumping, documenting the laughs, screams and pain of two goofy athletes.[23] With its final season airing in 2012, the documentary series shifted to a global scale with their 5th season being filmed throughout Europe.

PULL

In 2004 Alliance, an American wakeboarding and water skiing magazine, launched Fuel TV's premier reality television series PULL.[24] It was originally a magazine style television show that introduced the sport, lifestyle and personalities of wakeboarding to millions of people outside the endemic circle. Being the first wakeboarding show of its kind, director Tony Smith, with his limited budget, documented 5 Alliance magazine athletes as they wake boarded across the world. PULL follows Bob Soven, Jimmy LaRichie, Jeff Langley, Mike Olson and Pat Panakos through the rivers of the Milton Sound in New Zealand all the way to the Monster Energy Wake Park in Texas, USA as they compete amongst themselves and against other riders for the Triple Crown. Airing its 6th and final season in 2010, PULL paved the way for other reality television series on Fuel TV.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "FUEL TV". fuel.tv. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  2. ^ Lepore, Steve (9 August 2013). "Fox Sports 2 almost definitely happening". SBNation.com. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  3. ^ Mediaweek (18 November 2019). "Fuel TV Australia signs streaming deal with the Seven Network". Mediaweek. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  4. ^ Guardian Staff (30 May 1999). "TV sport goes to extremes for teens". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  5. ^ Jager, Martin (2012). "Reaching Generation Y through Action Sports". German Sport University, Institution of Sport Economics and Sport Management – via JSTOR.
  6. ^ "FUEL TV Trademark of Braly, Thomas, C Serial Number: 78278441 :: Trademarkia Trademarks". trademark.trademarkia.com. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Fuel TV Re-Brands as Fox Sports 2, Launches Alongside Fox Sports 1; Will Still Feature UFC | MMAWeekly.com". 11 August 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  8. ^ "Pat Parnell to be host of Fuel TV's original Daily Series." 31 July 2009. Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Olivares steps down as Fuel TV General Manager". News Corporation Press. 18 April 2012.
  10. ^ Steinberg, Brian (2009). "The Future of TV". Advertising Age – via JSTOR.
  11. ^ "Fuel TV expands Pluto TV presence in Europe and Latin America". Digital TV Europe. 17 November 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  12. ^ Fuel TV promos, retrieved 28 December 2021
  13. ^ Manning, James (17 August 2020). "Audiences flocking to 7plus as free streaming platform of choice". Mediaweek. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Seven adds another streaming partner to 7plus platform - AdNews". www.adnews.com.au. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Fuel TV: Watch, Catch Up & On Demand in Australia". 7plus.com.au. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  16. ^ Brooks, Tim (2007). "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present". Ballantine Books: 1696.
  17. ^ Lundy, Lisa (2008). "Simply Irresistible: Reality TV Consumption Patterns". Communication Quarterly. 56 (2): 208–225. doi:10.1080/01463370802026828. S2CID 144776709.
  18. ^ Bagley, Gregory (2001). "A mixed bag: Negotiating claims in MTV's the Real World". Journal of Film and Video: 61–77.
  19. ^ Firsthand (Reality-TV, Sport), Fuel TV, 1 July 2003, retrieved 28 December 2021
  20. ^ "Fox Weekly - Fitness for your mind, body, and spirit". Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  21. ^ Camp Woodward (Reality-TV, Sport), Fuel TV, 17 February 2008, retrieved 28 December 2021
  22. ^ Drive Thru Australia (Reality-TV), 15 November 2009, retrieved 28 December 2021
  23. ^ The Adventures of Danny & The Dingo (Sport), J & N Media, 30 September 2008, retrieved 28 December 2021
  24. ^ Alliance (10 March 2021). "Alliance Is 20". Alliance Wakeboard. Retrieved 28 December 2021.