Dr. Mehmet Oz, the cardiothoracic surgeon who’s the host of the “Dr. Oz Show,” is behind a new 24-hour channel launching this month on Twitch — called Combat Go — dedicated to a range of martial arts disciplines.
Oz is one of the backers of online-video distribution company JungoTV, which together with Cinedigm is launching Combat Go. The new channel is slated to launch April 18 at twitch.tv/combatgo. It will be programmed with more than 600 hours of English-language content, including over 100 hours of live fights, according to JungoTV.
In addition to traditional Asian martial arts and modern MMA, the channel will feature content from across the globe including Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai boxing. It will be free to watch on Twitch, supported by advertising.
Lest you think combat sports are at odds with a physician’s mission, here’s what Oz has to say: “When correctly taught and executed, the martial arts develop respect, discipline and honor.” He added, “These admirable character traits will be on full display in Combat Go’s carefully curated programming, as the world’s top athletes execute the dynamics, unique styles, and practices that help achieve peak performance in their sports.”
For Amazon-owned Twitch, Combat Go represents its latest attempt to branch into other genres and formats. Last fall, Cinedigm launched a 24-hour channel on Twitch for fandom-focused CONtv, combining a slate of original programming with material from a catalog of over 2,800 films and TV titles. Still, Twitch remains largely focused on its core user base of video-game broadcasters and fans.
Combat Go’s development and launch strategy has been overseen by JungoTV CEO George Chung, formerly chief content officer at Crunchyroll. He’s also a five-time former World Karate Champion and inductee in the Black Belt Hall of Fame.
Programming on Combat Go will include fight commentary and analysis, original docu-series, martial arts movies and fight coverage from circuits including CageSport, Canadian Fight Night, Bangkok Fight Night and China’s Kunlun Fight combat league. International championships are set to include the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu World Tour, PKA Professional Karate and Kick Boxing Association.
“There is a real lack of global combat sports among digital-first networks,” said Erick Opeka, executive VP of digital networks for Cinedigm. Combat Go will launch on Twitch but will be coming to other platforms as well, he added, “where fans can not only watch the content, they can engage with it and their friends.”
Combat Go is the fifth channel from Cinedigm’s Digital Networks Group, along with Docurama, CONtv, gaming-lifestyle network WHAM, and family-focused Dove Channel. Last year, Cinedigm sold to a controlling stake to Bison Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm.
JungoTV’s broader business is focused on delivering in-language content internationally to help people “feel more connected to their homelands.” Currently, Jungo TV manages over 47,000 hours of content and over 80 live channels for international distribution. The company was founded by Oz, along with NJK Holding chairman Nasser J. Kazeminy, Sandy Climan, president of Entertainment Media Ventures, and CEO George Chung.