Atlanta -- Trying to make the most of its new assets,
Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. is exploring offering cable operators programming from New
York's legendary Radio City Music Hall, possibly in the form of pay-per-view packages
or broadband content.
Rainbow president Josh Sapan said last week that his
company, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp., is considering various options in terms of
generating programming content from the Radio City venue. This would most likely including
packaging cable programming featuring signature Radio City fare, such as its Easter Show
and Christmas Show -- events that feature the Rockettes.
Rainbow is also studying creating original content from
Radio City entertainment events for broadband use by operators for their high-speed modem
services. The programmer has already generated such broadband content for Bravo, The
Independent Film Channel and Rainbow's new digital network, AMC's American Pop.
Cablevision recently purchased Radio City Productions, and
it has a long-term lease on the facility in Manhattan. The MSO already owns Madison Square
Garden and its accompanying MSG Network, the regional-sports channel that televises sports
events based out of that venue and other New York-area venues.
Sapan was a panelist at the National Show here during a
session called, "Digital Programming: The New Frontier." In addition to
regional-sports channels and regional-news channels, Sapan told the National Show audience
that Rainbow is now developing and testing other kinds of regional programming for
Cablevision's New York DMA cluster.
The so-called MetroPak services that are in a trial phase
would be akin to the different sections that newspapers have each day. Cablevision's
ExtraHelp channel, already available to the MSO's Long Island, N.Y., subscribers,
will eventually become part of that package of local channels.
At the National Show session, Sapan said Rainbow has an
agreement in the works with a broadcaster to develop a local channel. He declined to
identify that broadcaster-partner, but NBC is a part-owner of Rainbow.
"There are a lot of pluses for local channels with
local partners," Sapan said.
Sapan's fellow panelist, MTV Networks president Mark
Rosenthal, said MTVN has been talking to operators about creating local programming in big
markets, which, he added, is probably five years down the road.
Rainbow is also testing offering movies from some of its
networks on a video-on-demand basis through Diva Systems Corp., according to Sapan. For
example, consumers could choose from a package of IFC-branded movies. But those movies
would only be available through VOD, and not on the network, Sapan said.