In a bet that Americans want to lead richer lives, Rainbow Media has changed the focus and name of its Mag Rack VOD offering and next month will unveil a slew of free VOD series promising viewers benefits and tangible results, CableWorld reports in its Feb 19 cover story. In 11mln VOD HHs, Mag Rack will cease and the new franchise will be called lifeskool, initially offering original VOD series "to educate, and inspire" in 12 categories ranging from children to finances and automobiles to video games, said gm Dan Ronayne. He vowed that the programs will entertain as well as teach viewers. lifeskool joins the sports instruction series already grouped under sportskool, whose 23mln cable VOD HHs make it nearly ubiquitous. Several months after lifeskool’s door open, the popular guitar instruction series that’s been part of Mag Rack will form the basis of its own school… er, skool… and be dubbed musicskool. In addition to guitar, musicskool will offer video instruction in piano, bass, drums and home recording. All three skools will be in HD. Rainbow plans to sell single sponsorships to the skool series and within 24-36 months launch several skools specializing in a wide range of topics to target niches, he says. With VOD advertising in its infancy and VOD barely in knee pants, some advertisers feel VOD advertising can be effective with niche audiences, said Magna Global svp Brian Wieser. Many national advertisers feel VOD’s numbers are too small for national campaigns. Kagan Research estimates cable VOD HHs will reach 53mln by ’10. [For more details, check out Seth’s cover story in this week’s issue of CableWorld.]

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