Spreading the Gospel via VOD

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Looking to appeal to music-loving cable companies, upstart Gospel Music Channel will offer three distinct video-on-demand services featuring various gospel-music styles.

The three services -- featuring gospel rock, gospel soul and gospel concerts -- will be offered in conjunction with the linear network, which is expected to launch Oct. 30, CEO Charles Humbard said.

The three VOD strands, set to debut in January, will initially offer six to eight hours of programming that will be frequently refreshed.

Humbard said the network is also looking to develop a VOD brand for the country and Southern and contemporary-hits genres.

Branding the on-demand services by specific genre allows for greater marketing and promotion opportunities on the linear TV channel.

Humbard said operators will not be able launch the VOD channels without carrying the linear service, but systems can choose to carry one, two or all three of the channels.

“These channels are there for them to augment as they see fit in a given market,” he said. “But without the marketing and promotion from the linear channel, the VOD brands would be lost in a sea of [VOD offerings] because the awareness won’t be there for the consumer.”

The network currently has a carriage agreement with Cox Communications Inc., but it’s unclear how many of the MSO’s systems will offer the VOD services.

Humbard said the network is in conversations with all the major MSOs and hopes to be in front of 500,000 subscribers at launch.

For more on Gospel Music Channel, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 12 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.