Perth sees a Reelz chance

Net dedicated to news and information about movies

Digital TV subscribers who navigate basic cable, pay TV and pay-per-view are faced with a glut of as many as 4,000 movie titles to sort through each month.

To the rescue in September comes ReelzChannel, an ad-supported network dedicated to news and information about movies, from their kickoff in theaters to their journey across all of the ancillary windows.

Rod Perth, president of TV for Reelz, says the network arrived in October 2000, when the service was called Moviewatch. But Perth and Hubbard Media, which owns Reelz, couldn’t sell the concept back then because movies on pay per view weren’t chalking up big buy rates and VOD was in its infancy.

But Perth says cable ops and satcasters jumped on board this year because of the explosion of movies on TV, computers, video iPods, portable media players and cell phones.

“But we won’t be a barker channel or a gossip channel,” Perth says. The signature show of Reelz will be “Dailies,” which will deliver info about movies to help people decide which films to watch.

Perth’s jobs in the industry have included president of programming for USA and its Sci Fi Channel sibling, exec VP of latenight programming for CBS and top programmer at Jim Henson Prods.

What convinced the buyers of Reelz, he says, is that the national promo blitz for theatrical movies stops after the DVD window.

Reelz will funnel plenty of information to viewers about movies appearing on HBO or USA or Oxygen Media, an aspect cable systems sparked to because it could mean more dollars coming in from Madison Avenue: Cable ops chalk up two minutes an hour of commercial time within most of the basic-cable networks.

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