Some have called 2012 the year of rebranding. Will 2013 be the year of network launches? Here are five networks scheduled to launch in 2013.
1. ABC News/Univision
ABC News and Univision have launched a joint venture that includes a 24/7 news network for English-dominant and bilingual Hispanics. Journalists from both organizations will be featured on the to-be-named network, set to launch in September 2013. The venture will have anchors and correspondents in major U.S. cities, with the two organizations sharing newsgathering and production resources. Fernando Rodriguez-Vila, manager, content development, Univision News said at a NAMIC panel on marketing to bicultural Latinos that the net’s editorial strategy will focus on being “more subtle and nuanced than anything else…We’re a bridge rather than a ghettoizing network," he said. Fun fact: Everyone at the upcoming news network has been instructed to learn Spanish within the next 5 years.
2. Participant Media
This week Participant Media announced the formation of a new network targeting Millennials (18-34) to launch in the summer of 2013. The plan is to combine its recent purchase of Documentary Channel with the distribution assets of Halogen, which brings the total reach to 40 million homes. Evan Shapiro, who joined the socially-conscious content company in May, will lead the new network. A name will be announced in March. Its mission, according to Shapiro, is to feature content that inspires social change. Most of it will be acquired programming at first, but original content is key to Participant’s strategy. The roster of content producers includes Brian Graden, Davis Guggenheim, The Jim Henson Company, Meghan McCain, Morgan Spurlock and others.
3. Fox Sports
Fox Sports is launching its much-anticipated sports network Fox Sports 1 as a rebrand of motorsports channel Speed. According to Sports Business Journal, the network should come on line by August of next year and is positioning itself as a competitor to EPSN. The focus will be live games, programming and talk shows centered around MLB, UFC, soccer, college basketball, football and NASCAR.
WWE’s EVP, Creative Stephanie McMahon said at SBJ’s Sport Media & Technology Conference in November that the upcoming WWE network will likely be a pay subscription model, “not unlike HBO.” Shows like “Monday Night Wars,” historical look back series “WrestleMania Rewind” and a countdown show will be featured, with all programs “completely interactive.” In test marketing some of the content, McMahon’s team found that 57% of households in the U.S. showed interest. But it has to launch first, of course. The network has been discussed for a while now, yet currently there is no official date. Perhaps 2013?
5. Hip Hop Global Media & Entertainment
Digital channels Hip Hop 1-TV and Hip Hop 2-Movie are launching in May 2013 on an IPTV Platform and by summer’s end hope to land cable, telco and satellite distribution. Hip Hop 1-TV will feature daily and weekly programming, specials and themed video segments on hip hop artists and celebrities. Hip Hop 2-Movie will air films, docs, biographies made in-house and “on-the-set” show segments. Advertisers, distributors and sponsors will get a sneak peak of the net’s programming at NAPTE ’13 in January.