First gospel music channel to launch in US

MUMBAI: After spiritual channels, it is time add sub sections to the genre. A channel devoted to gospel music will be launched in the US by the end of 2004.

The channel's content will attempt to capture the history and modern influence of all gospel music styles and genres.

The target audience of the channel will be the 25-54 age group. However the schedule will also be strategically day-parted to reach teens, tweens and even children. The channel will feature music video blocks, artists' biographies, music specials and live concert programming, says an official release.

The Atlanta based channel is the brainchild of Charles Humbard and Brad Siegel. While the former was Discovery's senior VP and GM, the latter has been president of Turner Entertainment Networks.

The ad-supported network is targetted at the under-served and loyal gospel music market. Private equity firms Alpine Equity Partners L.P. and Constellation Ventures will finance the channel, informs a press release.

The channel also claims to have finalised an agreement with a major US multi system operator (MSO) for carriage throughout America.

Humbard was quoted in a company release saying, "When you take a close look at the television landscape today, there are only a few underserved categories with such a large and passionate fan base.

"Gospel music fans represent a very powerful economic consumer base that stretches from coast to coast. The channel will have a strong appeal among families and advertisers seeking an alternative to other entertainment channels. We will celebrate all styles of this wonderful and historic music genre," said Humbard.

Gospel music is one of the fastest-growing areas in the US recorded music industry. The music record sales for last year reached 50 million units in the US, the release states.

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