April 30, 2009

06CN: DIRECTV Service Gets Hope (Channel, that is)

Hope Channel to Launch on DIRECTV
Church-Owned Network to debut on April 29.
capThe Seventh-day Adventist Church's official television network is slated to join the basic DIRECTV lineup on April 29, a move Hope Channel executives anticipate will introduce the network's family-friendly programming to a potentially larger and more diverse viewing audience. The move represents “exponential growth” for the church-owned media ministry, one official said.

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SIGNING UP: Mark Finley, left, chairman of the Hope Channel Board of Directors, and Hope Channel associate director Gary Gibbs sign a contract from DIRECTV. Hope Channel programming will appear in the satellite provider's basic home service package at the end of April. [Photo: Matt Herzel/ANN]

The contract with DIRECTV -- one of the leading direct satellite providers in the United States -- marks the "largest media breakthrough for the church in North America," said Mark Finley, chairman of the Hope Channel Board of Directors, in a Hope Channel press statement. Launched in 1994, DIRECTV boasts a subscription base of more than 17 million homes. The service also reaches many hospitals and institutions, and Hope Channel expects to co-market the service to Adventist health care outlets and universities.

"We are delighted to partner with DIRECTV," said Hope Channel president Brad Thorp, adding that Hope Channel was grateful for the satellite provider's "gracious reception and cooperation" in adding the network's programming to their basic package.

While Hope Channel executives said DIRECTV was already impressed by the diversity of its programming -- particularly its emphasis on education, healthy living and family life—plans are in place to concentrate on "programs that attract a sense of community," Finley said.

As Channel 368 within DIRECTV's basic home service package, the Hope Channel will appear among several leading news and educational channels, the network's press statement said.

On February 10, in an unrelated announcement, Chase Carey, president and CEO of The DIRECTV Group, Inc., indicated the service added 3.9 million subscribers in the United States during the three years ending in 2008, including 301,000 net new subscribers during the fourth quarter of last year.

                                        --Reported by Adventist News Network with AR staff.