Former Tennis Channel svp, distribution Randy Brown has signed on to become Outdoor Channel‘s new svp, affiliate sales & marketing. Brown, who left Tennis in June to pursue other opportunities, including consulting, explained his vision for Outdoor’s distribution future in the following 5Qs: How do you think your experiences at Tennis Channel will help with this new job? There are more similarities than differences. Outdoor launched to serve enthusiasts in that space. It’s well established as the premiere brand in the outdoor category. [It has the same concerns] with limited sports tier reach, and that will be high on my agenda to address with affiliates. Outdoor’s distribution agreements with 6 of the major service providers, accounting for approx 59% of your sub base, terminated as of May 1. How are renewal talks going? I sure didn’t come here to tread water with 30mln subs. I’m inspired by building, not maintaining. With a number of our larger affiliates in various stages of renewal talks—and those are going well—we think we’re poised for some pretty creative deal making. The fact they’re out of contract at the same time doesn’t reflect any particular weakness. Outdoor has said it would cut subscriber fees for better penetration. How’s that going, and would it also consider upfront cash payments to increase its sub base? My experience is that operators would rather pay less per sub than to take cash payments as there have been accounting rule changes. Lower prices and wider clearance makes good sense for both of us. I don’t know too many affiliates that would be closed minded to having that conversation. Sports tiers. I know that’s something you dealt with at Tennis. Why doesn’t Outdoor Channel belong on one? These things were created to contain cost. Why put low-cost content in a cost containment tier? It’s not like Comcast is putting Versus and Golf Channel in that tier. Do you think independent nets can really stay independent in this climate? It’s really a game of leverage and scale, and independent networks have neither. I anticipate that new independent networks will either skip linear and go straight to VOD/broadband or bring distributors into their business as equity partners. There may also be a play for certain indies to roll up as a network group to at least achieve scale.