Updated on 01/13/2017 1:36PM

Woodbine to shut down HPItv channel


The parent company of Woodbine Racecourse near Toronto, Ontario has shut down its multi-card television channel which provided live racing coverage in the province, citing declining viewership and increasing costs, according to an announcement from the company.

The network, called HPItv, will go off the air officially on April 11, 2017, the company said, though most employees of the channel have already been let go, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The channel has been operated by Woodbine Entertainment Group, Woodbine’s parent company, as an adjunct to HPIBet, the company’s account-wagering operation, which also offers live video feeds of simulcast signals.

“THe HPItv subscriber case continues to trend downward as more of our customers move online while production costs have risen, making it an unsustainable business case to the keep the HPItv multi-track channel operating as the media landscape evolves,” Sean Pinsonneault, WEG’s executive vice president of strategy and wagering, said in a release.

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An associated channel showing odds board for tracks will also be discontinued, Pinsonneault said in an interview on Wednesday evening. The main channel and the odds channel were offered as a subscription package on most Canadian cable and satellite networks.

Pinsonneault said that WEG made the decision because the company was facing significant investments in the channel to modernize it, at the same time that customers were migrating to the Internet and mobile platforms.

“It became something where we didn’t believe we should be reinvesting in something that did not seem to have a future,” he said.

Although the main racing and the odds channel will be shut down, three pay-per-view channels offering raw feeds of simulcast signals will remain in operation, according to Woodbine.

Last year, Woodbine redesigned its account-wagering site to offer customers more live video feeds and to be more responsive to mobile users. The redesign allows players to watch four live video feeds at once, including HD capabilities for the tracks that broadcast in the format.

“More people are watching and wagering there, so we thought we should focus on that,” Pinsonneault said.