5Qs with Golf Channel CEO Mike McCarly

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It was a good Sept for Golf Channel , which scored its most-watched month ever with its Ryder Cup coverage. The net averaged 120k viewers during the month, up 58% YOY. CableFAX spoke with Golf Channel CEO Mike McCarly on programming, ratings, the merger with the NBC Sports Group and more. Since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group, what are some of the beneficial results of the merger? Over the past 19 months, Golf Channel has built a ton of momentum. Currently, we are the fastest growing among all networks on television servicing more than 80mln HHs. This success can be attributed to a combination of factors including the added exposure via NBCUniversal assets but, most importantly, we have focused on high-quality programming and our loyal viewers are responding by tuning-in in record numbers. Have you tapped the NBC resources and if so in what ways? Absolutely. That's my background, so I knew how powerful a collaborative environment can be and since the first day of our new company we've tried to foster that culture. We quickly were able to co-brand all Golf Channel and NBC tournaments as one. We are building a seamless golf business with NBC, Golf Channel, GolfChannel.com, and both NBC and Golf Channel's mobile platforms. As Tiger Woods' celebrity status ebbs and wanes, does it impact your viewership? As an engine that helps fuel the game of golf, Golf Channel has to have a broader focus than any one player, tournament or tour. Tiger's participation continues to impact viewership, but over the past couple of years a roster of young talent is taking the game by storm. While having Tiger competing for a win will always help drive our numbers, one player's impact is less of a concern because there is a great depth of talent making names for themselves with golf's legions of passionate fans, who in turn are also becoming increasingly loyal Golf Channel viewers. What type of non-live event programming does best? For six years, Golf Channel has dedicated itself to not only producing high-quality live event and news coverage from around the globe, but we are making significant investments in new and original programming that taps into the passion of golf in a smart, authentic way. What do you think is the biggest misconception about golf? The easy answer is the misconception that golf only appeals to an elite audience. And while Golf Channel does have the most-affluent audience on television, the sport continues to grow with passionate fans from all walks of life. If you visit a golf course today, you will see a cross-section of society enjoying the sport. And as the roster of rising young stars continue to see success, you'll see younger and younger fans being drawn to the sport every day.

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