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Rainbow seeks Voom boom

Cablevision, Sapan go high-def


By JOHN DEMPSEY


NEW YORK -- If Josh Sapan has his way, James Bond will be blasting his way out of tight scrapes for the first time ever in the full glory of high-definition TV.

Sapan, president-CEO of Rainbow Media, is about to engineer a relaunch of 10 Voom high-def channels, including Rush HD, a network for action-sports fans; Ultra HD, dealing with fashion, beauty and style; and Majestic HD, a movie channel that will include the first 17 United Artists Bond movies, from "Dr. No" through "License to Kill."


Voom's partner in the high-def venture is EchoStar, which bought a 20% stake in the Voom channels earlier this year when it agreed to purchase the entire satellite TV business of Rainbow parent Cablevision.


Cablevision lost more than $1 billion in trying to compete with DirecTV and EchoStar with a full satellite operation, including the Voom channels, which at the time numbered 21. But DirecTV, with just under 15 million customers, and EchoStar, with about 13 million, were too firmly entrenched; Voom had fewer than 50,000 subs when EchoStar bought it out.


EchoStar and Rainbow decided to keep Voom alive because more people are buying high-def TV sets, and the volume of HD programming to keep those people happy is fairly sparse. EchoStar is cheerleading for Voom to return to programming 21 HD channels by the first quarter, all of which it has agreed to carry.


Sapan, who'll be pitching the major cable operators over the next six weeks, said Voom is planning to commission original movies and TV series in HD, as well as concerts, art auctions, fashion shows, animated shorts, exclusive news reports and nature documentaries, among many other programming forms.


Voom also has signed theater artist Robert Wilson to create high-def video portraits of renowned personalities ranging from Brad PittBrad Pitt and Winona RyderWinona Ryder to Mikhail Baryshnikov and Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka.


But EchoStar is leaving art to the culture vultures as it hypes the Voom network Monsters HD, which will highlight six of the seven "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, topped off by the 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."


Date in print: Mon., Aug. 22, 2005, Los Angeles
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by guffy1
Someone started a thread about this yesterday...Its still on the first page...
my bad

please delete
 

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