America Online Inc. co-founder Steve Case's entry into the cable television business will come with a twist.
Case's company Revolution, which also owns Miraval Life in Balance Resorts, purchased Wisdom TV this past April and will rename the service Lime. The relaunched service, though, will largely follow Wisdom's tack of serving the health and wellness category, according to network CEO C.J. Kettler. Wisdom was initially founded by the late Bill Turner in 1999.
Kettler, the former Oxygen Media sales and marketing executive, said the name and the network's tagline — “healthy living with a twist” — correlates well with the network's mission of providing information and programming that reflects a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
“As we looked at the category, it became clear that health and wellness were part of the green lifestyle, so we decided the direction for the positioning was green, which encompasses natural health wellness, sustainability and personal development,” she said. “Wisdom was the only cable network in this category and part of what we're hoping to do in the new positioning is relabel the category over time.”
At the outset, Lime will retain much of Wisdom's programming content, Kettler said, but will integrate more of its own acquired and originally produced shows after the first quarter of 2006. Lime will also inherit Wisdom's 6.5 million subscribers through deals with such MSOs as Comcast Corp., Insight Communications Corp., and satellite provider EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network.
Kettler said the network hopes to pick up more subscribers prior to its launch, although she would not detail any negotiation specifics. She added the network will have appeal beyond traditional niche health-conscious viewers.
Americans spent $230 billion on healthy lifestyles last year — $20 billion of that on natural and organic foods alone.
“This is a category that used to be considered niche and a subculture, but it's a category that's now a part of most everyone's life,” she said. “If you look at the growth of yoga and alternative health care as well as how the Whole Foods chain has transformed the food and supermarket industry, you can see how this category has become mainstream.”
Lime general manager Noreen O'Loughlin said the network will also offer a video-on-demand service and feature a Web site.
O'Loughlin, the former AMC general manger who lost that job amidst alleged accounting irregularities at Rainbow Media Holdings in 2003 and most recently with New York consultancy Sullivan & Co., said the multiplatformed approach will provide greater value to operators looking to better serve their subscribers.