Rainbow's Wedding Central Channel Launches
WE tv Spinoff Has Cablevision Digital Cable Berth
By R. Thomas Umstead
Rainbow Media today (Aug. 18) officially launched its new bride-oriented channel Wedding Central on Rainbow parent Cablevision Systems, with hopes of reaching a significant number of young, wedding-enthusiastic female viewers.
The multiplatform service debuted this morning on Cablevision's iO digital cable tier, but Rainbow is talking to other multichannel distributors about taking it, said WE tv president and general manager Kim Martin, who will oversee that channel, too. Martin would not reveal distribution projections for Wedding Central, nor any license fee. She would only say the fee per subscriber was "very reasonable."
The launch was expected, but programming details (and the channel name) hadn't been disclosed until now. http://tinyurl.com/mxqtrr
Wedding Central launches with more 300 hours of series, specials and movies related to weddings, dating and relationships, mostly from sister service WE tv. Shows featured on the channel include My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding, I Do...Let's Eat!, Bride vs. Bride, Single in the City and Girl Meets Cowboy, plus specials How to Marry a Prince and Top 10 Wedding Looks.
Martin says the channel will acquire another 100 hours of programming over the next year with the development of original content slated to air on the network in 2011.
While the network is targeted toward women ages 18-49, Martin says the network's sweet spot will be tech-savvy women in their late 20s and early 30s who are "in the wedding zone."
She hopes the network can replicate the viewer success WE tv has had with wedding-targeted programming over the past five years, notably with Bridezillas.
Most recently the June 2009 launch of WE tv's Sunday night wedding programming block drew more than 1 million viewers.
But as WE tv transitions away from wedding fare to more family-targeted programming such as The Locator, Adoption Diaries and Raising Sextuplets, Martin said Wedding Central will fill the void for viewers voracious for wedding programming.
"The wedding programming has really popped for WE: women just gravitate towards wedding programming and they have an insatiable appetite for it," she said. "We found that the viewership is not just women who are about to get married, but it's a really wide and broad base of women who just love all things wedding related, so we felt this was a great time to launch a wedding network."
The network will also have a strong interactive element, providing viewers with multiple opportunities to interact with the network's programming and advertisers via their remotes. Among the options viewers will have will be voting for their favorite brides to connecting directly with local and national advertisers. Martin says the network is in negotiations with several wedding-based companies and expects to announce partnerships in the near future.
Online, the service's Wedcentral.com site will feature original web content, blogs, polls, games and user-generated content, Rainbow officials said.