VH1 shows its age with classic rock digital net

Outlet targets boomers, to preem May 8

NEW YORK — VH1 is growing older.

The cable net will launch VH1 Classic, a digital net targeted to baby boomers, May 8.

Classic — a revamp of VH1 Classic Rock — will feature music from “adults’ favorite artists” such as the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Who, Janis Joplin and Earth, Wind and Fire, as well as related longform programming from the VH1 library (“Legends,” “Behind the Music,” etc.)

“The channel ties into (Viacom chairman) Sumner Redstone’s dream of cradle-to-grave programming,” said VH1 prexy John Sykes, who added “six or seven years ago, there was no need for this channel because VH1 was playing these artists.”

The average VH1 viewer is now 31 years old, and the network, which just hit the 70 million homes mark, plays music geared to that demo.

VH1 Classic will be included in the MTV Networks digital package “The Suite,” available in about 1 million homes. Other nets included in “The Suite” are VH1 Uno, VH1 Soul and VH1 Country, as well as Noggin and Nickelodeon GAS (Games and Sports).

VH1 is hoping that the new net will drive distribution of digital boxes. “We see this as a long-term convergence play,” Sykes said. In addition, the net is launching “VH1 Fast Music,” a promotion intended to help drive distribution of high-speed Internet service.

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