MTVN to Set Tempo in Caribbean

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MTV Networks is creating Tempo, a Caribbean music and culture network, which will debut in the Caribbean this fall and then come to the United States next year, officials said Tuesday.

The new ad-supported service, with Cable & Wireless plc on board as a charter sponsor, will launch in October in markets across the islands through a carriage deal with Innovative Cable Television and additional distributors. Tempo’s North American bow will be in 2006.

Tempo’s announcement coincides with the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s “Caribbean Week 2005” in New York, which runs until Saturday.

Tempo -- which has forged a creative partnership with Wyclef Jean -- will air a mix of original and acquired programming, including series, specials, movies, documentaries and sporting events. The lineup will include offerings from MTVN’s long-form programming library, as well as series from local Caribbean networks.

Tempo will work with Jean to develop some original series and documentaries, and the network will use his expertise to shape its musical offerings and tone.

“MTV Networks is committed to identifying underserved communities and creating the most innovative, exciting and authentic channels for them and with them,” MTVN chairman Judy McGrath said in a prepared statement.

“Tempo will be built around music and be dedicated to all things Caribbean: music, food, travel, sports, culture and more,” she added.

McGrath credited Frederick Morton, MTVN senior vice president and deputy general counsel, with spearheading the development of the new network. He had his own comments about Tempo.

“As a native son of the Caribbean, I am thrilled to be at the forefront of developing what will soon become the ultimate source of all things Caribbean, the ambassador of a dynamic people, a magnetic culture and an undeniably breathtaking destination,” Morton said in a prepared statement.

The partnership between MTVN and C&W is a three-year exclusive agreement that will enable customers of C&W’s mobile brand, bMobile Technology, to access exclusive Tempo mobile ring-tone and wallpaper boutiques.

Innovative is a subsidiary of Innovative Communication Corp.

“Tempo is the answer to a longstanding need and opportunity in the cable landscape,” Innovative president and general manager Jennifer Matarangas-King said in a prepared statement. “It is a real pleasure to bring to our customers a channel we know they want, and are sure they will enjoy.”

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