Cox Communications Inc. has signed a carriage deal to offer
Lifetime Movie Network as part of its digital package starting later this year, officials
said last week.
LMN -- a 24-hour digital spinoff channel that airs
made-for-TV movies and miniseries from Lifetime Television -- launched in September 1998.
It is currently carried on Headend in the Sky, the AT&T Corp. digital platform that
serves AT&T Broadband & Internet Services and other MSOs.
LMN will be distributed in selected markets on "Cox
Digital TV," according to a statement issued by Lifetime Entertainment Services,
Cox couldn't be reached for comment to offer specifics on
LMN's digital distribution.
But in a prepared statement, Cox vice president of
programming Bob Wilson said, "Lifetime's movies have always been well-received by our
customers. Lifetime Movie Network delivers on our promise of more options and convenience
for our Cox Digital TV subscribers."
According to Lifetime president Carole Black, LMN will
offer operators additional local ad-sales opportunities in the women's category.
Lifetime's original movies have a strong track record in terms of ratings, network
officials have contended in talking about their digital channel.
LMN expects to be in 5 million homes, both digital and
analog, by the end of the year, according to a Lifetime spokesman. But he wouldn't
disclose how many homes LMN currently reaches via HITS.
A special LMN hotline registered 117,000 phone calls from
viewers interested in the network during a preview that aired on Lifetime Jan. 3.
And a recent Beta Research Corp. cable-subscriber study
found that LMN was the top choice out of 30 emerging networks among 225 female cable
subscribers 18 and older.
LMN is currently carried on HITS transponder 5, which
includes several "brand-name" spinoff channels from established programming
services: Toon Disney, an animated spinoff from Disney Channel; The Biography Channel, a
spinoff of A&E Network; and History Channel International, a spinoff of The History