New York -- Home & Garden Television and International
Channel have gained part-time berths on Time Warner Cable here, effective today (April 5),
in unusual arrangements under which they have actually rejiggered their programming to
accommodate the huge system, officials said.
HGTV will air four hours per day, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.,
on channel 64, which is Bravo's slot. Time Warner will pre-empt the four hours of
infomercials that Bravo runs in the morning, according to Barry Rosenblum, president of
Time Warner Cable of New York City.
And in a similar move, Time Warner will begin running
International Channel on channel 40, Courtroom Television Network's dial position,
from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends, Rosenblum
In that case, too, Time Warner will pre-empt the
infomercials that Court TV airs with International Channel, which offers news and
entertainment programming from around the world in 20 languages.
Programming services such as HGTV feel that it is
strategically crucial to have cable carriage in Manhattan, so that both Madison Avenue and
Wall Street can easily view them.
HGTV and International Channel will now reach about 1
million subscribers here -- all of Time Warner's distribution in the city except for
"Hitting Manhattan is big-time," said Burton
Jablin, HGTV's senior vice president of programming. "This is the largest system
in America. It's very important to be on there."
HGTV has been trying to gain carriage in the Big Apple for
more than two years. In 1997, it was one of several dozen cable networks that bitterly
vied to become part of a new tier, called "MetroChoice," that Time Warner was
creating in New York City. But in August of that year, HGTV wasn't chosen to be part
of the tier.
Time Warner won the right to pre-empt the Bravo infomercial
block as part of its deal to carry the MSG Metro Channels, which are owned by Bravo's
parent, Rainbow Media Holdings Inc., a Bravo spokeswoman said.
In a unique arrangement, HGTV will actually air its
primetime programming -- one week after it airs on the full-time network -- during its
morning time slot on Time Warner, Jablin said.
HGTV will provide Time Warner with a special tape or feed
of its April 5 primetime programming, for example, which will run on Time Warner in the
morning block April 12 on Bravo's channel slot.
That time delay will allow HGTV to insert different promos
during the primetime fare, removing any references to nonprimetime shows that Time Warner
subscribers won't be able to see, Jablin said.
HGTV will also add special joint-marketing promos to the
programming that it supplies to Time Warner, and the promos will air on other channels on
the system, he added.
International Channel had been carried by Time Warner in
Queens and Brooklyn, with about 550,000 subscribers, until the end of January, when it was
dropped to make room for one of the new MSG Metro Channels, Rosenblum said.
International Channel has also been airing in Manhattan
from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on leased access, according to Davida Shear,
the network's senior vice president of affiliate relations.
The network will continue to buy that leased-access time,
but it will cut back the one hour that overlaps with its new carriage on Court TV's
slot, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Shear added.
As a result of its morning part-time carriage deal with
Time Warner, International Channel is actually rearranging its program schedule
nationally, Shear said.
The network used to run some infomercials at 5 a.m. itself.
Now, it will replace that long-form paid programming with a Filipino newscast from Manila
on weekdays and with Korean videos on weekends, Shear said.
Since International Channel has just one feed, the entire
country will get those same lineup changes.
While International Channel is encouraged that it is
getting partial carriage in 1 million Time Warner homes, it is still seeking to regain
full-time carriage, Shear said. She pointed out that her network airs programming in 20
different languages, and New York City's diverse population won't be able to see
all of that fare.
When Time Warner goes digital here, Shear said, she hopes
that International Channel will be able to regain an analog slot.
HGTV, which just unveiled a new $50 million programming
slate, is a good addition to Time Warner's lineup in the Big Apple because it offers
broader tips beyond just gardening, according to Rosenblum.
"They have a wide selection of programming that the
city will enjoy," he said. "They offer decorating tips and renovation
information that applies to the city and the suburbs."
As for International Channel, it will offer New Yorkers --
many of whom are immigrants -- programming in various languages, Rosenblum added.