Cosmo TV eyes '08 Canada launch

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TORONTO -- Cosmopolitan Television, a 24-hour channel for young women inspired by the Cosmopolitan magazine brand, is coming to Canada early next year.

But New York-based Hearst Corp. on Thursday said it won't be launching a Cosmo channel in the U.S. market anytime soon.

Instead, Hearst and Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment are jointly launching Cosmopolitan Television as a joint venture in Canada, with an eye to an early 2008 bow on domestic cable and satellite TV schedules.

A Hearst spokesman said the media giant is weighing U.S. opportunities for Cosmopolitan Television, but for now is focused on expanding Cosmo's TV version from its current base in Spain and throughout South America.

Hearst turned to Corus to help launch the digital channel in Canada because, just as Hearst runs Lifetime Television and its offerings of movies, dramas and sitcoms for a female demo, Corus owns and operates W Network, Canada's cable channel aimed at women.

Susan Ross, executive vp and general manager of specialty TV at Corus, said the first English-language version of Cosmopolitan Television will remain faithful to the magazine brand, but diverge from the initial Spanish-language models by tailoring itself to the Canadian market.

"There's continuity with the brand and positioning, but we understand we have a different competitive marketplace. We have more channels," Ross said.

Cosmopolitan Television in Canada will target an 18-34 female demo, younger than Corus' W Network, with programming centering on relationships, lifestyle, beauty and style trends.

In February, Canada's TV regulator denied an initial application for a Canadianized Cosmo TV service on grounds that it moved onto turf already held by rival Canadian lifestyle channels aimed at young Canadian women.

That forced Corus to resubmit its application in March, and the CRTC finally greenlighted Cosmo TV for Canada on Aug. 7 after placing conditions on its program offerings to ensure it will not compete against existing domestic cable channels.
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