LGBT Networks on Track... (*NEWS*)

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by CoCo, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. CoCo

    CoCo a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

    Jan 14, 2004
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    Maryland ; the land of Mary's...
    of interest...

    Hispanic, Black, Gay Networks on Track

    April 12, 2004

    NEW YORK -- The lineup of cable TV networks is growing again, with media companies such as Viacom, News Corp. and Comcast planning or backing new channels.

    After rapid growth in the 1990s, the number of U.S. cable networks either dwindled or rose only slightly each year from 1999-2002. But it jumped to 339 last year from 308 in 2002, and a slew of channels are in the pipeline for this year.

    A popular tactic with cable network owners: Launch a spinoff rather than all-new channels, similar to the way packaged goods marketers roll out "brand extension" products -- new, related products under an existing brand name -- rather than new brands.

    Among the flurry of activity:

    :bigthumb: I want my gay TV. Sumner Redstone of Viacom is planning a gay- and lesbian-themed cable network under the possible moniker Outlet, to be created by its MTV unit and operate alongside CBS, MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon.

    With the popularity of gay-themed shows such as Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," Showtime's "The L Word" and "Queer as Folk" and NBC's "Will & Grace," Redstone recently told the press in Mexico City: "The channel will succeed, I believe."

    VH1, meanwhile, has ordered a pilot for a series called "Gaydar" in which celebrities guess whether contestants are gay or straight.

    :bigthumb: Move over Maria Bartiromo. CNBC could face a new rival spun off from Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. News Corp.'s recent deal to take control of DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite TV service, has shifted the plan into high gear.

    "CNBC has no competition," said Roger Ailes, Fox News chief executive, at a recent panel.

    But media expert Robert Thompson of Syracuse University warns that Ailes will find the field crowded with CNBC, CNN's Lou Dobbs, CNNfn and Bloomberg TV. "We're not sure the market will support several 24-hour news channels -- much less four business-oriented channels," he says.

    :bigthumb: English-language channel for Hispanic audience. Sí TV launched in February in nearly 8 million homes. The business plan: Serve second- and third-generation Latinos, ages 18 to 34, who are more comfortable with a channel in English than a Spanish-language network such as Univision.

    Co-founded by former comic Jeff Valdez, the network secured more than $60 million in financing recently from backers including Time Warner and EchoStar, operator of the Dish satellite TV service.

    :bigthumb: Competition for BET. Launched in January on Martin Luther King Day, TV One is challenging Black Entertainment Television (BET), aiming at African-American viewers over age 25. Founder Alfred Liggins of Radio One has financial backing from Comcast, the biggest cable operator.

    Why the burst of activity? A hunt for growth in an otherwise flat media industry, says cable analyst David Mantell of investment firm Loop Capital Markets in Chicago. "Right now, that wave of growth is cable."

    Cable or satellite TV service is now in about 85 percent of the nation's 108 million TV households.

    In the annual "upfront" market next month, when up to 80 percent of fall TV ad time is sold, cable networks are poised to grab more of the pie from broadcasters. Cable networks had a 50.3 share of prime time viewers in 2003 vs. a 48 share the year before, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). The major broadcast networks, meanwhile, slid to 44.8 from 46.6.

    The biggest hurdle in launching a channel is getting on enough cable or satellite systems to have an audience that attracts ad dollars.

    "As a buyer, I look for as much distribution as I can get," warns Andy Donchin, director of national broadcast for Carat, who buys more than $2 billion worth of media time for marketers such as Radio Shack.

    Getting "carriage," as it is known, can spark battles as media giants press distributors to take spinoff channels. Charlie Ergen, chief executive of EchoStar, recently yanked Viacom's cable networks off Dish for 48 hours, in part because Viacom demanded he carry its new Nicktoons as the price for getting CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon. EchoStar blinked first, even as Ergen acknowledged to reporters: "We hated to do that."

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  2. Redsky

    Redsky Beat the one you love.

    Jan 20, 2003
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    Bravo is almost a Gay channel. While it doesn't deal with issues that the modern homosexual man might face, it certainly has zero programming that might cause one to confuse it with Spike TV.

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