WE: Women's Entertainment will join competing women's-targeted network Oxygen
on Time Warner Cable systems as the result of a distribution deal between the
service and the MSO.
Time Warner is expected to launch the channel in 8 million of its 10 million
homes by the end of 2001, according to network executives. The agreement, terms
of which were not disclosed, will lift WE's viewing subscriber count to 32
million by the end of 2001, with overall deals with MSOs representing more than
50 million subscribers.
More important for WE, the majority of distribution will be analog in nature,
including more than 1 million subscribers in Time Warner's New York system,
network executives said. The deal comes on the heels of carriage agreements with
Adelphia Communications Corp. and Charter Communications Inc.
AMC Networks president Kate McEnroe said the pact is a milestone for the
network, previously known as Romance Classics: 'The deal validates our
rebranding efforts as a women's network,' she said.
She added that the network is in negotiations with several other MSOs, but
she would not reveal specific details.
The deal comes nearly one month after Time Warner inked a carriage accord
with Oxygen that will give that upstart service access to10 million
predominantly analog homes. However in the MSO's centerpiece New York system,
Oxygen's initial rollout this summer will come on digital tiers.
Echoing Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne's sentiments at the time
of its Time Warner pact, McEnroe believes there's enough room and enough viewers
to support at least three women's cable networks.
'Time Warner sees the power of women in the market,' McEnroe said. 'By
rolling out dedicated services to that audience, Time Warner sees women as a
powerful economic force to be reckoned with.'
The agreement will also aid the network's plan to evolve into an
advertisement-based network in the fourth quarter of 2002.
'Being carried on Time Warner Cable, which serves major markets, is key to
our strategy as WE: Women's Entertainment gets set to participate in the upfront
marketplace in 2002,' McEnroe said.