Impact Wrestling star Petey Williams was recently interviewed on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast on a number of topics including the company's new television deal with the Pursuit channel. Below are the highlights:
On if the Pursuit Channel is a step down from Pop:
"I don't think you're the only one thinking that honestly. You hear rumours on the Internet like negotiating with SyFy, WGN America, TruTV, all big name brands, programming that if you mention it everybody will be like, 'Oh yeah, TruTV, I watch Impractical Jokers' or 'WGN...' I don't even know what's on WGN, 'SyFy, yeah I watch... that's a big network. SmackDown used to be on there'. So a lot of people are thinking, 'Pursuit? What's Pursuit Channel?' And it made sense to me initially as soon as I read it because I didn't know about it until I woke up this morning and the big news was out and I'm like 'Ah Pursuit now, okay. This is awesome. Pursuit's owned by Anthem, Anthem owns IMPACT'. Me in my mind I'm like, 'Why didn't we do something like this till now? Why didn't we do this a year ago? Anthem owns IMPACT, Anthem owns Pursuit, why haven't we done this before?' It made sense to me initially because we're all parties wanting to succeed in this because we're all feeding into each other. We are all owned by each other so it makes sense."
On if IMPACT makes any money from Anthem moving it to one of their own networks:
"I mean obviously money is involved. Also when you have Pop TV and you have the demographic, and I don't even know what Pop TV's demographic is per se, but when you have to be cautious about what you say or do so that you can still be on that Pop TV channel, that's tough, because that limits what you can do with your product. Now that we're on Pursuit, it's an outdoor channel, it's a demographic that's pretty much for males like hunting, shooting, fishing and that kind of stuff, male-dominated interests and activities. So it might be interesting to see what kind of product that going forward IMPACT is going to kind of put out there because hunting... you're killing living things. I mean you're still killing a living thing on television. It's going to be interesting to see whether we are going to be a little bit more edgy, maybe? Which I know a lot of wrestling fans have been starved for with the PG era that's been going on in WWE. So maybe that's going to be a thing going forward. I don't know, I really don't know, but it could be interesting."
On if they can post episodes online sooner now that they're on the Pursuit Channel:
"Yeah on Pop, you were able to get it on our Global Wrestling Network app 10 days after it aired, so I don't know what it's going to be with that. It might be like, 'Hey, directly after it airs, you can watch it'. That'd be cool for people that don't have Pursuit, like if you have Comcast or whatever the case may be. And I think it would definitely benefit our app if that was the case. The only thing that I know with the Pursuit Channel is that just through the press release that it's one of the fastest growing television networks out there this past year. They had like a 15% increase over the past year, which I understand for a new company it's only been around for 10 years. NBC is not looking to get a 15% growth because everybody's had NBC since NBC's been around and Fox and NBC and all that kind of stuff. So for a newer network to see this growth, that's a huge thing."
On his initial reaction when he heard IMPACT was heading to Pursuit Channel:
"Yeah I mean initially I was like, 'Oh good we got off of Pop'. And that's what I was thinking, I'm like, 'Oh we announced a different cable company. This is a fresh start. People are going to be excited and stuff.' Pursuit, yeah initially I was like, 'Oh okay', 'cause you know you hear all these rumours like SyFy and TruTV and WGN America, you could say those names to anybody living in your neighbourhood right now, they'd be like, 'Yeah I have those networks. I know what they are. I watch shows on that network.' If you say Pursuit, they're like, 'Yeah you know, I never really heard of it'. So initially I was like, 'Ah Pursuit', I just look at it as... not still rebuilding but like it's good that we have a new home. But I was really hoping for — obviously like WWE is announcing now they're on like Fox and stuff like that. I was hoping for something a little bit more mainstream, I guess you could say. More viewers and all that kind of stuff for our product. But maybe right now that's not where IMPACT is. Maybe we have to like build our brand again, because you know building it over a year —we've done our best, we still have a long ways to go. I think it will be fine. Looking at the growth of Pursuit, it'll be fine. Everything will be okay, but initially I was like, 'Pursuit? What's that? I gotta go research this' pretty much."
On going where the money goes whether it's a bigger network or not:
"Yeah, I mean obviously you're trying to build your product and stuff like that. Going back to what I said about IMPACT's first initial deal with Spike, if that was correct, it's probably the same thing. You don't want to be going into the red just to build your product because there's no longevity in that and I think IMPACT's looking at longevity. How can we make this last for 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years into the future rather than just like, 'Hey, let's go for broke right now and this is our last ditch effort' and stuff. Maybe IMPACT feels like, 'Hey, we're not at that point where we can just go for broke. Let's build up a little bit.' The wrestling world's transitioning right now. Maybe there's more to the story, but maybe they're thinking like, 'Hey, let's not go for broke. Let's do this safe and then just build from there."