Bolstered in part by its recent deal with Time WarnerCable, E! Entertainment Television is projecting that its Style fashion network will reach10 million subscribers by the end of this year, officials said last week.
E! just closed a 10-year affiliation agreement with TimeWarner that extends carriage for E! -- which is now available in 9.5 million of TimeWarner's 12.6 million homes -- as well as guaranteeing Style carriage on all of thedigital packages that the MSO rolls out at its systems.
"This is a tremendous vote of confidence," saidDave Cassaro, E!'s executive vice president. "With this deal, we are assured thatStyle will be distributed on Time Warner's most widely penetrated digital package, and onanalog."
Aside from digital, he said, it will be up to E!'saffiliate-sales force to scout out any analog spots for Style that open up -- via rebuildsat Time Warner systems, for example -- Cassaro said. But the MSO was pretty downbeat aboutany analog opportunities.
Time Warner spokesman Mike Luftman said, "All of thenew channels that we'll launch, we'll be launching digitally."
Style, which debuted in October, now counts 3 millionsubscribers, but Cassaro claimed that it has commitments for about 5 million total.
According to Cassaro, E! is in final negotiations withseveral MSOs about the new network. E! has been talking to Tele-Communications Inc., forexample.
"Now it is a matter of the deal," Cassaro said."And we have an aggressive one."
For Style, E! is offering a variety of incentives, fromupfront cash launch fees to free carriage, according to Cassaro. He claimed that cableoperators like the fact that Style is "not just a spinoff of E!," but that ithas its own "distinctive, original programming."