Cable Operators

Infomercials to Get Their Own Net?

3/13/2005 4:00 PM Eastern

The Sharper Image’s “Ionic Breeze,” Jack LaLanne’s “Power Juicer” and other infomercial staples could get their own dedicated channel this summer, as several former cable executives collaborate on a new, long-form digital-basic and on-demand service geared toward product marketing.

New York-based Expo TV said it will be the first cable network to help consumers sort through the myriad branded, long-form marketing shows that mostly air during overnight or morning hours.

Former Oxygen Media executive and company CEO Daphne Kwon said the privately owned network has the support of several top cable veterans, including former Court TV president Dick Beahrs, ex-Time Warner Inc. CEO Nick Nicholas and former Home Box Office president Thayer Bigelow.

Kwon said the linear service -- which could be positioned on digital basic or digital tiers -- won’t charge operators a license fee. Instead, the channel will give its affiliates opportunities to share in revenue generated from the airtime fees it charges to infomercial companies.

Neither Expo TV nor operators will receive cuts of the revenues generated through infomercial product sales, according to Kwon.

TVN Entertainment Corp. will offer the video feeds to operators as part of a carriage deal between the two companies.

In addition, the network will offer an on-demand package that will allow viewers to access infomercials by product category, like fitness or home improvement, as well as the network’s hottest sellers.

The VOD service currently runs on Insight Communications Co. Inc. systems serving more than 400,000 VOD-enabled homes.

The channel will also develop original series highlighting various products in numerous categories.

For more on Expo TV, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 10 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.