Here! Seeks Its Place on Cable Lineups

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Here! TV wants to graduate from its current status as a satellite-TV pay-per-view service appealing to gay and lesbian audiences. It’s planning a full-time launch this fall.

The service — currently proffering three to six PPV titles per month — plans to bow as a full 24-hour service Oct. 1. Content will encompass movies, new original series, classic films, TV shows and other general-entertainment content, according to the network.

In the interim, here! TV hopes to entice MSO pickups via a subscription-video-on-demand package.

Beginning June 1, here! TV will offer 30 hours of monthly fare, while also making its current direct-broadcast satellite slate available to cable operators via VOD or PPV.

SVOD DEAL NEAR?

“The reception from the MSOs has been good,” said Paul Colichman, president and founder of the service. “We expect to announce our first deal with a SVOD carrier at the National Show.”

Global Media Holdings principal Andrew Tow, acting as an adviser to here! TV, added, “Clients should be on board for VOD, SVOD and linear services before the deadlines we’ve announced.”

He declined to discuss splits, other than to say they are “in line with industry standards.”

PPV buys on DirecTV Inc., which has carried here! since last September, had “exceeded expectations,” Colichman said. Executives at the direct-broadcast satellite leader could not be reached by press time. The service only launched on EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network last month.

While Colichman believes in here! TV’s linear prospects, he is “no less excited” about the SVOD platform, given the gay community’s propensity for technology.

“Gays are seven times more likely to use the Internet than straights and many own TiVos [digital video recorders],” he said. “SVOD might be the right technology for the right marketplace.”

Colichman, a founder and producer at Regent Entertainment (Gods and Monsters), said platform migration makes sense for consumers. “They’re spending $3.99 for a movie. A four-hour VOD block for, say, $4.99, is a better value. With 30 hours on an SVOD basis at around $8.99, that could be an easy upsell.”

Gearing up for the fall bow, here! TV has some 1,500 hours of programming. The company recently completed four licensing deals with TCA Releasing, Wolfe Video, Strand Releasing and Regent Worldwide Sales covering 200 films Additionally, Colichman is handpicking independent gay and lesbian titles.

ORIGINAL SERIES

Here! TV is also busy on the original side, having greenlighted a dozen telepics. It also has access to flicks, like Friends and Family, a comedic about the real gay mafia in New York, from its in-house distribution division.

The network is also working on a quartet of original series. Filming on Dante’s Cove, which Colichman describes as a “gay Dark Shadows,” has already begun in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Weapons of Mass Destructions, a spy thriller starring martial arts star Cynthia Rothrock as a lesbian action hero, is in preproduction.

In addition to the TV enterprises, Colichman and co-founder Stephen Jarchow, who also hails from Regent Entertainment, are also heading movie studio here! Productions; here! Films, a U.S.-based films acquisitions and theatrical releasing arm; and here! International, an international feature-sales company.

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