“Nashville Europe Now” is the name of the newest entry in the race for shares in Germany’s budding niche channel market. As the name suggests, NEN-TV will feature country and European folk music for an age group ranging from 35 to 55.

“The demos were astounding,” said originator John Garmen in Wiesbaden. “We asked the people what they wanted to see more of on TV, and 77% over age 27 named country and folk music.”

Garmen has been working on the project for nearly three years now and will present it to the media authorities next week for the first unofficial nods of approval, which he needs to gain financing.

Garmen, whose previous TV experience was earned on the MTV project at Braun Electronics, is unwilling as yet to name potential shareholders or the amount of start-up capital necessary. Targeted launch of the international, two- or four-language cable and satellite station is in August, and he expects to break even in three years.

But industry insiders are skeptical of the station’s chances. Though demos show that the over-50 age group make up Germany’s biggest TV audience, no one knows how much country and folk music they would watch if they had the chance to watch it all day.

“The subject is certainly not saturated in the present market,” said ad expert Thomas Koch. “But it’s such a specialized theme that it might not work. Why should advertisers leave their other ad media–which also reach that group–to support a channel so specialized?”

Garmen, however, feels the buying power of the older age group is argument enough. “Thanks to the European social systems, 60-year-olds have much more buying power than 27-year-olds,” he said. “Demos have to be rethought in the future.”

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