Comcast pulls G4 TV, ending comeback attempt for gamer-focused network – deadline

Comcast pulls G4 TV, ending comeback attempt for gamer-focused network – deadline

EXCLUSIVE: ComcastThe Spectacor division spins off a network focused on video games G4 TV, whose early incarnation in the 2000s remains a cultural touchstone for many millennials, just a year after its reboot.

In a memo that will be sent to all employees, Spectacor CEO Dave Scott explained that the company’s investments and efforts to revive the network simply did not work.

Several dozen employees and contract workers are affected by the closure. Comcast said it would help them relocate and consider some for internal opportunities.

The departure over the summer Russell Aarons, a seasoned digital media executive who came on board as G4 2021 president, was the precursor to today’s news. Her duties were added to the portfolio of Joe Marsh, a Comcast Spectacor vet who served as CEO of T1, an international esports joint venture with Korea’s SK Telecom.

The current iteration of the G4 is smaller and less focused on traditional linear TV than its predecessor. It announced a lineup including a revived version of the original G4 mainstays Attack of the show! and Xplayplus comedy BoostedJapanese competition series Ninja Warrioresports competitions and Dungeons & Dragons limited series.

In addition to putting content on YouTube and social media, G4 has a multi-year deal with Twitch and pay-TV distribution deals with Verizon FiOS, Cox, Xfinity TV and Philo.

Several media and tech ventures focused on the gaming community have seen recent turbulence, with Facebook shutting down its gaming app and Google shutting down its Stadia gaming service. VENN, a start-up billed as the “MTV of video games”, also failed.

G4’s first launch began in 2002 under co-ownership of NBCUniversal and Dish Network. The network was created by former Disney TV executive Charles Hirschhorn, who saw it as a successor to MTV in its potential to tap into youth culture. A number of notables appeared as presenters on G4 at the start, including Olivia Munn, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Pereira and Grace Helbig.

After dark in 2014, G4’s place on the dial was taken over by the Esquire Network, in what would prove to be a short-lived branding exercise. Amid a flurry of enthusiasm on social media, new owner Comcast Spectacor revealed plans at Comic-Con’s 2020 virtual edition for the network’s return.

Spectacor’s main business focus is sports and live events, with the division owning the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as well as their home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, along with numerous other assets. G4’s results were never particularly material for Spectacor, but the division followed esports enthusiastically, making a revival of G4 a logical endeavor.

Here’s Scott’s full memo, obtained by Deadline from a source:


As you know, the G4 was reintroduced last year to capitalize on its popularity
playing. We invested in creating the new G4 as an online and TV destination for fans
to entertain, inspire and connect with gaming content.

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to generate that interest in the G4, but
viewership is low and the network has not achieved sustainable financial results
results. This is certainly not what we had hoped for, and as a result, we succeeded
very difficult decision to discontinue G4, effective immediately.
I know this is disappointing news, and I am disappointed too. I want to thank you
and everyone on the G4 team for their hard work and dedication to the network.

Our Human Resources team is reaching out to you to support you,
discuss other options that may be available to you and answer any questions you may have
can have.

Thank you again for all your hard work for G4.

With respect,

Dave Scott
President and CEO
Comcast Spectacor

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