Two new military channels {C&P LONG}

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by geezler, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. geezler

    geezler New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
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    Two Military-Themed Channels Unveiled
    Sunday, January 9, 2005 3:00 PM EST
    The Associated Press
    By DAVID BAUDER

    Ten-hut! When the Military Channel reports for duty Monday at 2000 hours, it will be a boon for armchair generals and fans of corporate warfare, too.

    The debut comes only five days after another network, the Military History Channel, began operating. Both are targeting much the same audience with a similar programming mix, and are bankrolled by two of the cable TV industry's biggest and most successful players.

    Let the battle begin.

    The Military Channel is a repositioning of the aviation-centered Discovery Wings channel, which is already seen in about 35 million homes. It's the 14th domestic channel operated by Discovery Communications Inc., including TLC and the Discovery Network.

    The Military History Channel is a spinoff of the History Channel, the sixth U.S. network started by AETN, and was offered to cable and satellite systems starting Wednesday.

    "They both see an opportunity in the marketplace and they each have considerable assets to throw at this," said Larry Gerbrandt, an analyst of cable TV for AlixPartners LLC.

    Considering millions of Americans have military experience and the country is at war, it seems like such an obvious idea for a network that it's a wonder a version of these networks didn't exist before.

    There's also a track record of success: the History Channel has attracted some of its biggest audiences for wartime documentaries, particularly on the weekend.

    Military history is still and will continue to be part of the History Channel's mix, but the network has been trying to broaden its reach with more programming on technological, social and religious history, said Dan Davids, network president.

    "There is a group out there that wants to be able to see military history documentaries any time of day, 24 hours a day," he said.

    The Military History Channel has come out guns blazing. For its first three nights, the channel telecast four-hour, prime-time documentaries recounting the battle histories of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force. The Marines got three hours, the Coast Guard two.

    The network has also prepared programs on Navy SEALs and Green Berets, Hispanics who have received the Medal of Honor, the history of blacks in the military and female combat pilots.

    In contrast to its rival, the Military History Channel has built a large library of programming through its parent network, Davids said.

    "These are the programs that have really captured military history documentary viewers over the years, the same viewers who said they want to see more of them," he said.

    Those viewers tend to be male, often older. Viewership of Discovery Wings averages about 70 percent male with an average age in the 40s. So operators of the Military Channel have their sights set on some younger viewers.

    To find them, it has packed the schedule with gadget-centered programming, including a series of specials devoted to the greatest technological achievements in military history.

    Day-in-the-life programs on a Marine tank battalion as it pushed into Baghdad and Marine Corps reservists in Afghanistan are also in the works. A four-hour miniseries follows the Navy's flight group, the Blue Angels.

    The Military Channel will also have a recurring series, "Goin' Back," following veterans returning to battlefields that shaped their lives. The first installment, on Feb. 24, will be about Iwo Jima.

    "We'll cover both history and history in the making," said David Karp, senior vice president and general manager of the Military Channel.

    Karp said his rival network "sounds like another History Channel. It sounds like more of the same. We're taking a much broader view of the topic."

    Sticking to menus of documentaries and nonfiction specials, neither network has announced any live programming to explore current topics, for instance, or up-to-date military news.

    "Viewers don't want us to do things that are already on the news networks," Davids said. "They have plenty of resources to go to if they want to find out what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. What they like us to do is stick to our niche, which is history."

    The documentaries are also cost-effective, an important factor for new networks. Since both are backed by big companies with infrastructures already in place, they're relatively cheap start-ups.

    Which one will survive? Is there room for both?

    "It's very hard to handicap the race at this point," Gerbrandt said. "The likelihood is both will get some sort of distribution."

    Since both companies have bigger, more established networks that cable and satellite operators want on their systems, they have some leverage in the marketplace.

    The Military Channel may have an edge because it's already in one-third of the nation's TV homes. In timing that was surely not coincidental, the Military History Channel was offered free to cable and satellite operators for three months when it started last week. No deals have yet been struck for April, when the company will begin expecting payment.
  2. headzilla97

    headzilla97 New Member

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    Fonda NY
    Well looks like ill have to add another channel to the surf list
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