MTV and Showtime acknowledge plans for gay cable network

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 12 2002 1:00 AM ET

The cable networks Showtime and MTV publicly acknowledged Thursday that they are in development on a gay- and lesbian-themed cable channel that would draw on the programming resources of each channel as well as the library of parent company Viacom, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Experts feel the time is right to focus on the GLBT market. "There is an audience, and it's not exactly like there is any competition," said Mike Goodman, a senior analyst for the Yankee Group, a market research firm. "The key to rolling out new networks is finding an underserved niche. They may have found one."

Executives say the proposed channel would be made available on a subscription, pay-per-view, or video-on-demand service. "There is no way that you will be able to put this channel on basic," said Goodman. "But if you make this a mini-pay on a digital tier, you're giving the [cable] operator a reason for carrying this." Mark Greenberg, executive vice president for business strategy at Showtime, said that Viacom networks have excelled in presenting such material in the past. "MTV has had a lot of successes programatically there, and we've seen it with our own programming with Queer as Folk, which has gotten a positive reception from the gay and lesbian audience."

No date has been set for the network's launch.

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