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Gaylord goes out of country

In an attempt to drive the popularity of country-music cable channels beyond the boundaries of the U.S., the Gaylord Entertainment Co. has reorganized the division that has turned TNN: The Nashville Network into one of the top 10 advertiser-supported cable networks.

The cable-networks’ division will consist of Gaylord’s three cable channels — TNN, CMT: Country Music TV and CMT Europe. Taking charge as senior VP of the division will be David Hall, who has served as general manager of TNN for the last 10 years.

“The cable networks have become the most profitable of all of Gaylord’s divisions,” said Hall, in a phone interview from his office in Nashville. Gaylord’s other divisions areentertainment (Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel and theme park), broadcasting (four TV stations and three radio stations) and cable systems (27 franchises, mostly in Southern California).

Simultaneous with the announcement of Hall’s promotion is the news that CMT Europe will add 2 million more homes in the United Kingdom through a deal with BSkyB, which will distribute a 16-hours-a-day version of the country-videos channel via scrambled signal to satellite-dish owners.

The 24-hour CMT Europe, which began life as service transmitted by cable in October 1992, now reaches 325,000 cable subscribers in the U.K.

Hall says, “I’m positioning CMT Europe for more growth not just in Europe but in areas like Japan, Hong Kong and Latin America.”

These are the places where Gaylord’s country-music publishing company has experienced solid growth in the last few years, he adds.

In the U.S., TNN is a major success story, its total revenues climbing from $ 137.3 million in 1992 to $ 151.5 million in 1993, a 10.3% increase, according to Paul Kagan Associates. More than 57 million cable homes have access to TNN.

Although CMT is available in only 19.7 homes in the U.S., Hall says its growth has doubled since Gaylord acquired the network in January 1991.

Replacing Hall as general manager of TNN is Kevin Hale, who shifts over from general manager of Gaylord’s KSTW, the VHF independent station in Seattle.

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