The poker-focused TV channel Poker Central that was launched to cater to avid poker fans is moving to digital-only format from 2017 onwards according to a statement from the company.
Las-Vegas based Poker Central was launched in 2015 by entrepreneur and high-stakes poker player Cary Katz.
The network offered a mix of tournaments recordings like that of World Poker Tour and original programming such as Pokerography and Live at the Bike!.
The channel had a distribution deal with National Cable Television Cooperative and was available on Buckeye Broadband and Sony's PlayStation Vue.
Along with traditional TV broadcasts, the channel was making its content available on numerous digital platforms like Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Poker Central president Joe Kakaty said that the live stream from the network that was currently available on these channels will no longer be available. Instead viewers will be able to access Poker Central programs such as the popular Inside Poker With Matt Savage via on-demand ad-supported, free videos.
In a statement Joe Kakaty said,
It’s a digital pivot because we saw our millennial audience wanted more content. But they wanted new, original content. TV is not going away—it’s just how we’ll work with TV that is going to change. The legacy part of our business is not a place where we wanted to put our resources.
Kakaty said that the decision was based on the realization that Poker Central was better at social media and mobile-based programming rather than the regular network-oriented efforts.
The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl which was its flagship live event is said to have broken global records for Twitch viewership.
Poker Central has several well-known poker pros as its ambassadors including Daniel Negreanu, Brian Rast, Maria Ho, Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari. One of its latest events was the Poker Central Charity Shootout which raised $85,000 for charities. The event was shown on Dec. 3 on the Poker Central Twitch Channel as well as on Amazon.com before being beamed on CBS Sports Network later.
Jeff Liboon, Head of Mobile eSports Media and Content at Amazon commented on the news stating that Amazon was looking forward to expanding its relationship with Poker Central, pointing out that it had been impressed with Poker Central’s reach with millennials interested in poker.
Kakaty has said that a presence on TV was important but that will now be accomplished by partnerships with established channels like NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network