In an effort to capitalize on the emerging digital-cable platform, former
Action Pay-Per-View founder Rick Blume will launch three reality-themed niche
digital channels July 1.
Blume, now president and CEO of Internet-based company Offline Holdings Inc.,
will attempt to exploit the popular reality genre -- and target teen and
young-adult audiences -- with Chronicle Digital TV, Offbeat and Passport.
Kidstuff, geared toward children, is scheduled to bow in 2002.
Blume hopes to place the networks before 500,000 digital subscribers by
year-end, but that may prove difficult in the current climate. He's asking
operators for 5 cents per channel in a climate in which many digital services
are being offered free-of-charge, at least for the first few years.
Nevertheless, Blume believes the four channels' programming will fill several
niches not currently served by many digital networks.
Chronicle Digital TV will focus exclusively on documentaries with a full
slate of cultural and historical presentations, plus an array of original
independent films. Among the scheduled programs are 1997 Academy Award-winning
Long Way Home, as well as Edgar Cayce, Andy Warhol and
Beautopia, Blume said.
Offbeat, which is aimed at Generation Xers, features innovative and
cutting-edge programming that appeals to a young adult demographic interested in
music, pop culture and technology. Program examples include Kurt and
Courtney, Spinal Tap, Paris Is Burning, Punks,
Slam and 'rockumentaries' and music features like Stop Making
Sense and Quadrophenia.
Passport will focus on facets of international travel and entertainment. The
network will also include a commerce element by presenting viewers with global
vacation opportunities -- including tour, hotel and air packages -- which will
be sold on-air in conjunction with a Web site.
Kidstuff, which won't launch until the summer of 2002, will skew toward
children ages five through 12 with reality-based 'edutainment' -- programming
that both entertains and educates young viewers on topics that interest them
most, Blume said.
To help acquire and develop programming for the services, Blume has appointed
documentary and movie producer Henri Kessler as Offline's senior vice president
'Henri's outstanding track record will help us to immediately create a strong
brand by delivering the highest-quality programming that will attract
subscribers,' Blume said.