The Changing Face of Outdoor Communications
By: Mark Romanack
In 2021 Fishing 411 TV was proud to be included in a video production sponsored by Lowrance Electronics aimed at telling the story of fishing sonar and GPS chart plotters. With nearly 40 years of experience using fishing electronics, it was Mark’s pleasure to spend a little time with Lowrance’s production crew.
For the past 30 years the Romanack family has been laser focused on communicating the outdoor lifestyle. At first it was outdoor magazines and newspapers, but for the past 16 years the Romanack family has been primarily interested in producing the Fishing 411 TV series. In the early days we broadcast exclusively on Sportsman Channel a national broadcast outdoor network that reaches millions of homes thanks to Dish Network, DirecTV and a host of cable television providers.
Over time we expanded that distribution to include World Fishing Network, the only “exclusively fishing” outdoor network in the world. While WFN reaches fewer homes than Sportsman Channel, the people who watch this channel are just as enthusiastic about fishing as we are.
Last season we expanded distribution again by adding Sportsman Canada, an outdoor network that broadcasts exclusively in Canada. Since the beginning Fishing 411 TV has fished and filmed extensively in Canada. It just felt “right” to support a network that reaches our countless friends and followers scattered across Canada.
Based on the amount of positive feedback we got in 2021 from our Canadian friends of the show, I feel confident we will continue to broadcast on Sportsman Canada.
Moving forward in 2022, Fishing 411 TV will be broadcast nationally on Sportsman Channel, WFN and Sportsman Canada. During the first two quarters of the year, our original programming will be broadcast on all three networks. During quarters three and four, our content will be broadcast on World Fishing Network.
What many people don’t realize is that when Fishing 411 is not on the water producing outdoor television content, they are often involved in photo shoots like this one sponsored by SmokerCraft Inc., aimed at creating marketing materials for catalogs, web pages, social media and of course boat shows.
As many of you know intimately, Fishing 411 TV also maintains a YouTube channel that includes full length episodes and a host of short video vignettes focusing on a wide range of fishing topics, destinations and tips.
Our YouTube channel has grown rapidly over the years and we will continue to support that channel with fresh content. Typically, we start adding new content to the YouTube channel during the winter months when our national broadcasts are coming to market.
Currently, our YouTube channel features hundreds of videos and that number will continue to grow over time. If viewers have topics they would like to see us tackle, by all means feel free to reach out with those suggestions.
The Outdoor Sportsman Group is the company behind Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network and also Outdoor Channel. In an effort to reach the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts who do not subscribe to a national television network, MyOutdoorTV.com was formed as an affordable alternative to broadcast TV.
MyOutdoorTV is a live streaming service that charges a modest monthly fee to view the content. Most of the outdoor television producers who broadcast on Sportsman Channel, WFN and Outdoor Channel also support MyOutdoorTV with content including Fishing 411 TV.
Moving forward, Fishing 411 TV will be providing full length television episodes and also shorter video vignettes to MyOutdoorTV as a means of providing content at an affordable price that can be streamed in full HD on your smart TV.
Recently Fishing 411 TV signed an agreement to also provide our fishing content to another streaming service known as Wired2Fish. Currently this streaming service focuses mostly on bass fishing, but with the help of Fishing 411 TV Wired2Fish will soon be expanding into walleye, Great Lakes trout/salmon, panfish and much more.
The people who are using Wired2Fish are some of the most enthusiastic fishermen on the planet. Teaming up with these guys is a no brainer and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Wired2Fish.
While producing outdoor television is a lot of work, it’s not without a little fun and games. In the big picture, the reason our staff is so dedicated to doing what we do is because we all enjoy a passion for fishing. Even on the days when the fish don’t cooperate, we are still having fun and still thinking about how to make our productions better, more informative and available to more people.
What the future holds for network or traditional TV broadcasts, I can’t say with certainty. It’s obvious however that more and more outdoor minded folks are turning to streaming services that provide content for a fraction of the cost of investing in satellite or cable television.
At Fishing 411 TV our goal is to service both network TV and on-demand streaming services in an effort to keep our content in front of as many people as possible.
The cost of producing an outdoor television show is staggering.
In the case of Fishing 411 TV we have five individuals on the payroll and we are invested heavily in three national networks that all require a substantial annual investment. On top of that we have countless dollars invested in video cameras, mirrorless cameras, POV cameras and editing software, not to mention all the money that gets dumped into travel, fuel and insurance expenses annually.
They say to make money you have to spend money and I can say with 100% confidence that is true about the outdoor TV industry. The issues of Covid 19 have made our work over the past two years that much more difficult. While I don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future, I’m fairly confident that the downward slide our economy is currently embarked on and the strikingly high inflation rates we are experiencing will continue.
Covid certainly tossed a few “curve balls” into the traveling schedule at Fishing 411. Despite those restrictions our team was able to produce another exciting season of outdoor television episodes.
For us the struggle is real. For example, kicker motors we ordered over a year ago for our boats have yet to be delivered. It seems anything you would purchase at a sporting goods or marine store these days have become hard to come by.
Despite the rising cost of producing outdoor TV, Fishing 411 is in this for the long run. Not only will our content be provided to as many national networks as we can afford, we will continue to expand our use of on-demand platforms as well.
To further reach as many consumers as possible, you can get the 411 on fishing in person at consumer sport shows this winter. Magazine articles that publish the good word in hard copy and also in digital formate will continue in Great Lakes Angler, Woods n Water News and Game and Fish Publications during 2022.
Our staff plans to stay as active as possible on social media and content will be provided on our rapidly growing weekly newsletter at least until we run out of things to talk about! Considering that in one form or another we have been communicating the outdoor message for more than 30 years, I’m pretty sure we will find something of interest to talk about for many more years to come.