Green Light for NCTA Digital Fest


After getting responses from more than 40 networks, the
National Cable Television Association is going forward with plans for what it's
calling a "Digital Cable Programming Festival" next month in Washington, D.C.,
officials said last week.

"We are going ahead," NCTA vice president of
industry affairs Barbara York said.

The NCTA will mail out invitations this week to the five
"festival" events -- movies, sports, kids' shows, documentaries and
Spanish-language programming -- to government officials including members of Congress, the
Federal Communications Commission, local county commissioners and the Capitol press, among

The NCTA had given programmers until Sept. 3 to file
proposals and indicate their interest in participating in the festival, which is meant to
showcase cable's up-and-running digital networks to government officials.

The festival -- which will come at a time when the cable
industry is lobbying against digital must-carry for broadcast -- will highlight
cable's own digital offerings.

One network will be in charge of doing a featured
presentation at each of the five events, with other programmers participating in the
sessions based on their genre.

The schedule of events for the digital festival has been
rejiggered. It will now kick off Oct. 13 with "Hook-up to Hollywood," with BET
Movies/Starz!3 screening filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles' documentary, Classified X,
on how movie images throughout the years have sustained racism.

That will be followed Oct. 19 by "The Wired World of
Sports," with ESPN Classic in charge of the featured presentation. On Oct. 23 comes
"Digitall-o-ween," where Fox Family's boyzChannel and girlzChannel and
Discovery Kids will host the featured presentation. Part of that session will include
letting guests try to scale a climbing wall.

The Biography Channel will take a look at first ladies over
the past 35 years for the "Digital Docs" presentation Oct. 28. And the fifth
festival event, "Livin' La Vida Digital" Nov. 3, will have Canales ñ in
charge of showing how technology is allowing the packaging of channels to fill the needs
of the Hispanic market.

The networks slated to participate in the festival include
AMC's American Pop!, BBC America, several Home Box Office and Showtime multiplexes,
Viewer's Choice, Fox Sports World, ACTV Inc.'s Fox Sports Net Plus, SET Pay Per
View, The Outdoor Channel, several of Discovery Communications Inc.'s digital
networks, Nick Games and Sports, Noggin, WAM! America's Kidz Network, Do It Yourself,
The Biography Channel, History Channel International, Trio, The Independent Film Channel,
BoxExitos, BoxTejano, CBS TeleNoticias, CineLatino, CNN en Español, Discovery en
Español, MTV en Español, Fox Sport World Español and Toon Disney en Español.