MTV to roll out global hi-def channel

Music, children's program to launch Sept. 15

LONDON -- MTV will roll out its first global high definition channel in what promises to be "a major growth period" for high definition television, according to MTVNI president Bob Bakish.

The channel will show a mix of music programs from MTV and children's programming from Nickelodeon and will launch Sept. 15th to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

It will add distribution in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, the U.K. and Spain by the end of the year, also adding six Latin American markets including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela by the end of 2008.

Bakish said MTV has a library of over 300 hours of HD programming commissioned over the past two years and says the market for HD is poised for growth.

"HD is a great consumer product. Right now if you look at the statistics there are around 100 million pay TV homes in Europe and around 4 million-4.5 million are HD enabled," he said, adding that MTV's channel would be in around half a million homes from Sept. 15. "HD is in its early stages but it is a natural evolution for us."