The launch of the Monitor Channel, a basic cable service skedded to debut May 1, appears to defy the recessional market forces affecting cablers.
While other channels are merging (Ha! and the Comedy Channel, the Legal Channel and In Court) and others are being postponed (the SciFi Channel), Monitor is committed to 24-hour programming and the hiring of 140-plus people by year’s end.
One advantage this channel has over some others trying to enter the field is a cash-rich parent, The Christian Science Church. Beaming over Satcom F4 and switching to Galaxy V in 1992, the channel estimates it will reach 2 million homes at launch. While not yet divulging any cable affiliations, CEO John Hoagland Jr. is considering offering operators up to 25% equity to spur carriage.
Programming will include some locally-generated shows from WQTV Boston, also owned by the Christian Science Church.
The service will be free to cable ops its first year, with slight increases predicted for each year over the next five, to reach 5¢s; by year six. Ad sales remain a key revenue component.