Gems adds macho to mix

MIAMI – Gems Television, the 24-hour Spanish-lingo net targeting women age 18 to 40, has repositioned its programming to include men and children in its mix.

“We’ve gone from an exclusive female position to an implied channel exclusively for women,” said W. Gary McBride, Gems president and chief executive officer. He said the change is the result of research indicating that women enjoy watching the net with their families. Currently, McBride said, 30% of Gems viewers are male. “There is an appeal to the network beyond the traditional,” he said.

The net’s repositioning includes a move from running the same eight-hour block of programming three times a day to airing a schedule that runs 8 a.m. to midnight with no repeats; of the new programming, 70% will be acquired, the other 30% original. Overall, new programming for the year will double, McBride said.

The net’s new daytime lineup includes female-oriented shows, while evenings and weekends feature family-oriented shows and movies.

One of the net’s new talkshows, “El Rosa y El Azul,” highlights male and female points of view, and marks its first effort to target both sexes. More than 100 episodes already have been produced, with more than 120 hours planned for next year, McBride said.

Gems uses domestic, international, Argentina and Mexico feeds, and on Jan. 6 will create a U.S. West Coast feed to delay delivery of programming by three hours.

It was created in April 1993 and has yet to turn a profit, though McBride said he expects it to in 1997. The net, which reports having 5.1 million cable subscribers in Latin America and 4 million in the U.S., is 50% owned by Empresas 1-BC, the Venezuela broadcast company, and 50% by Cox Communications.

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