Rainbow Media Launches Stand Alone HD Content Service


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – August 22, 2005 – Three months after finalizing its partnership with EchoStar Communications Corporation to carry a selection of VOOM HD channels on its DISH Network, Rainbow Media LLC announced today that it will officially launch VOOM HD Networks as a stand alone HD content service, providing cable and satellite operators with the largest and most diverse suite of HD channels nationwide. The new service will fill a significant programming void within the marketplace and expand Rainbow Media's powerful programming footprint beyond cable and VOD, providing a third tier of content specifically designed for HD.

VOOM HD Networks will focus on producing ground-breaking HD original programming, maintaining an unparalleled library of HD content, investing in key HD acquisitions and creating a diverse collection of valuable niche-oriented brands. In the past Rainbow Media has helped revolutionize cable television with the development of highly successful niche networks such as AMC, Bravo, WE and IFC and further expanded the concept by producing an acclaimed and varied array of original VOD programming for Mag Rack and sportschool.

"VOOM HD Networks will be a meaningful gateway for viewers as they look to maximize the power of HD," stated Rainbow Media President and CEO Josh Sapan. "Throughout its history, Rainbow has been at the forefront of innovation in television programming, from cable to VOD and now HD. We believe that making this service a fully operational and additional tier of Rainbow Media is the next logical step in our evolution."

The catalyst for today's announcement and the creation of this new tier of Rainbow programming began when EchoStar Communications Corporation committed itself and its customers to the concept, providing the first carriage agreement for this service, transforming the original HD channels of the VOOM satellite service into a highly valuable programming asset.

The new service will focus on ten core channels, which include; Rush, Rave, Animania, Monsters, Guy TV, The Majestic, Ultra, Equator, Gallery, HD News and feature a collection of special interests appealing to a broad spectrum of fan bases, including movies and entertainment, news, sports, fashion and arts, travel, music, and children's animation.

In addition, building an annual inventory of over 1000 films transferred to HD and over 2000 hours of native HD programs, VOOM HD Networks has built the largest 1080i post-production facility in North America located in New York City.

"Listening to our partners in cable and satellite, we have learned that the suite of content we've created is unique to the marketplace," stated VOOM HD Networks co-General Manager Greg Moyer. "VOOM HD Networks is an empowerment tool that gives viewers the ability to truly fulfill the promise of HD. If you watch VOOM HD Networks on a HD television, the content really speaks for itself. We look forward to building this stand alone service and providing HD viewers with HD content."

"There has been an undeniable void within the HD television landscape," stated VOOM HD Originals co-General Manager Nora Ryan. "The VOOM HD Networks channels offer several incredibly strong strategic advantages for potential distributors. The sheer scope and size of the channels offer consumers an unprecedented amount of specially produced, high quality HD content. In addition, through our technical innovations and experienced staff, we have created an HD infrastructure that is unique to the industry, including a state of the art HD production facility. We have secured a vast and diverse body of content, which the rapidly expanding universe of HD viewers craves. We plan to work very closely with our cable and satellite partners and help provide added value to their content offerings."

According to recent studies, HDTV penetration will grow past 50 million homes in the next five years (Forrester, 2005), with HD Enabled Cable Subscribers growing from 900,000 in 2003 to over 10 million in 2007 and HD Enabled DBS Subscribers growing from 200,000 in 2003 to five. million in 2007 (Kagan, 2004). Currently there are only nine HD network services available, supplying mainly movies and sports.

To ensure strong distribution and an aggressive marketing presence within the industry, VOOM HD Originals will be added to the portfolio of brands that make up Rainbow Network Sales, the new centralized Rainbow affiliate team, led by Gregg Hill. In the coming weeks, the team will begin pitching MSOs on each of the 24/7 linear HD networks. All the HD networks will be sold together and will be available for HD basic tiers. The Rainbow Network Sales hopes to present to all MSOs and major regional offices in the months ahead.

About VOOM HD Networks
VOOM HD Networks is an innovative package of HDTV channels that include movies, sports, music, travel, fashion, the arts, cartoons, and news – all in stunning HD. Created by Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, the channels are currently available to subscribers of Dish Network.

VOOM HD Networks offers in-your-face action sports on RUSH HD; a portal into intriguing people and extraordinary landscapes on EQUATOR HD; cartoon worlds in astonishing detail on ANIMANIA HD; the world of art brought to life on GALLERY HD; 24/7 news shot in native HD on HDNEWS; spine-chilling movies on MONSTERS HD; immersive pop music concerts on RAVE HD; fashion, beauty and style on ULTRA HD; plus the largest selection of special interest, commercial-free HD movie channels, including a never-ending hi-definition film festival on MAJESTIC HD and movies for the above-average Joe on GUY TV HD.

About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
A leader in sports, news and entertainment programming, Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC). Rainbow Media owns and manages national networks: AMC, Fuse, IFC (The Independent Film Channel) and WE: Women’s Entertainment; as well as the on-demand services: Mag Rack, sportskool, Uncensored On Demand, World Picks On Demand and World Picks Networks. Rainbow Media’s other businesses include its regional programming services – MetroChannels, News 12 Networks and Rainbow Sports Networks – in addition to the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications.

Press Contacts

  • Matthew Frankel
    Rainbow Media