VOOM's Equator HD Acquires Exclusive US Rights to Series of Award-Winning Documentaries By Internationally Renowned Producer Zed

Rapidly Growing VOOM HD Originals Channel Dedicated to Capturing the Culture of the Planet's Most Captivating People and Places Bolsters Programming Slate With Twelve Acclaimed Programs Created By Leading Global Natural History Production House ZED

JERICHO, N.Y., September 22, 2004 – Furthering its commitment to become the ultimate hi-definition destination for breathtaking programming that captures the world's most unique people and places, EQUATOR HD has entered into a multi-year agreement with ZED, one of the world's foremost producers of ethnographic film. Through the multi-year deal, EQUATOR HD has acquired the exclusive United States rights to seventeen films from the renowned natural history production house that it will air on the channel over the next three years.

The films will spotlight such intriguing topics as: a new breed of American cowboy who rounds up wild buffalo; Amazonian midwives; and a regional sporting competition held by native Brazilians who engage in a variety of creative, and rather unusual, contests. EQUATOR HD is available exclusively on VOOM, the groundbreaking satellite service that provides the most comprehensive array of hi-definition programming for the rapidly growing but underserved HDTV audience.

The deal with ZED marks the latest in a series of acquisitions by EQUATOR HD as it continues to bolster its presence as the leading destination for innovative, global culture programming through exclusive agreements with the world's top documentary producers and cinematographers. The agreement includes two parts. The first being the acquisition of the five most recent and finest HDTV films produced by ZED and the second part includes the pre-acquisition of twelve films over the next three years.

"ZED has had an unbelievable track record in the international market. Its high quality programs have won numerous awards and established its brand as a recognized leader in the ethnographic film arena," said Greg Moyer, Co-General Manager, Voom HD Originals. "This deal really ties into our mission as it allows us to provide truly spectacular programming that viewers will not be able to experience elsewhere."

"As a hi-definition channel that circles the globe in search of authentic voices and stories EQUATOR HD will be at MIPCOM actively seeking partners for acquisitions, co-productions and commissions for Voom which has more hi-definition content than any hi-definition satellite service in the US," said Ali Hossaini, Director of Acquisitions and Scheduling

According to Manuel Catteau CEO of ZED, "Over the past months, ZED has strongly developed its HD production to become one of the foremost creators of documentaries in hi-definition. Working with EQUATOR HD we have found a partner willing to develop the hi-definition format and provide viewers with breathtaking documentary films that will transport them to the places they chronicle."

The first ZED production – Rounding Up Buffaloes! — is scheduled to premiere on EQUATOR HD in Spring 2005. The fascinating, hour-long documentary follows a year in the lives of three modern day cowboys on the great plains of Montana who have linked their fates to the bison. Scheduled for summer 2005 is the awe-inspiring Traditional Midwives of the Amazon. This special takes a close look at the dedicated women who welcome new life and confront death when they "catch babies" thanks to the ancestral knowledge they humbly describe as a "gift from God."

Other acclaimed ZED titles that will air on the channel include:

  • Becoming A Man – This series follows the epic ordeal of young men from different countries who will never meet but they share a common singular goal: making the difficult passage into manhood. Each will face a grueling initiation quest and success will mean new status and responsibilities within each boy's tribe. But success is not guaranteed. If they fail, they will remain children in their communities. In three striking films you will follow the trials and tribulations of boys undergoing their ultimate initiation into manhood.
  • Urgan, Child of the Himalayas – Public Audience Prize and "Escale" Prize at the TOULON International Festival of Exploration & Underwater Films (France); National Geographic Prize at AUTRANS International Film Festival Mountain & Adventure (France); and final competition nominee at the GRAZ International Mountain & Adventure Film Festival (Austria). This film has also been selected to be screened at the prestigious TALOS Mountain Film Festival in Taos, New Mexico (USA) and the International Festival of Adventure Films in Montreal (Canada) in October 2004.

EQUATOR HD is the first and only channel that seeks out intriguing and visually stunning sights and sounds that capture the world's most unique people and places. Featuring insightful documentaries, films and original productions delivered in breathtaking hi-definition and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, EQUATOR HD brings viewers the most inspiring stories from around the globe.

About VOOM HD Originals
EQUATOR HD is one of the VOOM HD Originals, an all-inclusive package of 21 commercial-free channels created by Rainbow Media and available exclusively to subscribers of VOOM, the first television service to offer a comprehensive array of hi-definition programming to customers throughout the continental United States. In addition to Equator HD, the VOOM HD Originals include exclusive HD coverage of international soccer on WorldSport HD; unique animation entertainment on Animania HD; artistic masterpieces from around the world on Gallery HD; an inside look at exclusive live auctions on Auction HD; spine-chilling movies brought to life in hi-def on Monsters HD; 24/7 news shot in native HD on HDNews; experimental non-narrative video art on MOOV; the latest pop music concerts on Rave HD; in-your-face action sports on Rush HD; the best in fashion, food and fine living on Ultra HD; and HD Cinema 10, a 10-channel multiplex of uncut, commercial-free movies in HD, including Divine HD – the first ever hi-definition 24/7 gay movie channel.

About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
The exclusive VOOM HD Originals package of 21 commercial-free HD channels was created by 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, 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. Rainbow Media is also a 50 percent partner in Fox Sports Net.

About VOOM and Rainbow DBS
VOOM, provided by Rainbow DBS, Cablevision System Corporation's satellite division, is the first television service to provide a comprehensive array of hi-definition programming for the rapidly growing but underserved HDTV audience. With a lineup of more than 35 HD channels, VOOM delivers more HD programming than any other satellite or cable service provider. VOOM's HD lineup includes STARZ! HD, Encore HD, Showtime HD, Playboy Hot HD, ESPN HD, HBO HDTV and Cinemax HDTV. VOOM also features an exclusive package of brand-new, commercial-free channels such as WorldSport, Epics and Animania. The service also includes more than 80 of the most popular cable channels in standard-definition (SD), 18 digital music channels, and over-the-air digital broadcast channels in HD, where available. VOOM is offered across the continental United States through local Sears retailers; at BrandsMart USA stores; through leading online retailer, Crutchfield Corporation and through O'Rourke Sales Company's independent electronics retailers with approximately 10,000 locations in all 50 states. Customers can also purchase the service by calling 1-800-GET-VOOM or by visiting www.voom.com.

Press Contacts

  • Jefferson Wilson/Rainbow Media

  • Manuel Catteau/ZED
    + 33 1 53 09 96 96

  • Kas Rigas/212-981-5211
    Lee Rothchild/212-981-5259
    Dan Klores Communications