Great American Country, the plucky independent network, this week is
launching a full-scale invasion of the home turf of CMT: Country Music
Television, part of giant Viacom Inc.'s cable stable.
GAC will be added to Comcast's expanded-basic lineup in Nashville, Tenn., a
rollout that will give the country-music video channel roughly 280,000 new
That Comcast system already carries GAC's bigger rival, CMT.
'It's huge for us to get that launch, in terms of our exposure to the
country-record labels and the artists themselves,' GAC president Jeff Wayne said
last week. 'Now they can see the network.'
While some operators, like Comcast, are making room for both GAC and CMT, it
remains to be seen if the two country-music services - which compete not only
for carriage, but for similar viewers and advertising - can survive in the long
GAC has fortified its beachhead in Nashville, but it's still an underdog
facing an uphill battle against CMT, which is headquartered in the hometown of
the Grand Ole Opry.
Bankrolled by Viacom, CMT's distribution and ratings are eclipsing those of
GAC, which has made steady but smaller strides.