Kreek cranks up B’way Video wing

NEW YORK — Broadway Video has signed Bob Kreek, former president and CEO of Comedy Central, to run a new enterprises division.

Kreek’s first task will be to expand a service that feeds programming to a loosely aligned network of TV stations and cable systems reaching more than 140 colleges in 40 states. Broadway Video has just bought the 4-year-old service, called the Burly Bear network, for an undisclosed price.

John Engelman, president of Broadway Video Inc., said one of the long-range goals of Kreek’s division is to turn Burly Bear into a full-fledged niche cable network that BV would sell to cable systems for tiering on the digital platforms that could usher in hundreds of channels by the end of the decade.

But Burly Bear is starting small — it produces a one-hour weekly program service that it provides free to universities in exchange for carriage of the show at least five times a week. Burly Bear gets its revenues from the sale of as much as 12 minutes an hour of advertising time to such clients as Sony Pictures, Discover Card, MGM and the Florida Dept. of Citrus.

Danny Stein, who founded Burly Bear and will stay on as president, said the weekly service will grow to two hours a week this fall. It includes, among other features, a tongue-in-cheek cooking show called “Half-Baked”; lifestyle show “National Rage Page,” featuring on-location taping of campus social events throughout the country; “Extreme Sports” athletic contests; and plenty of musicvideos.

The revenues of Burly Bear “are in the modest seven digits,” Kreek said. But the growth possibilities are “enormous,” he added, “because the college audience is Madison Avenue’s most attractive demographic category.”

As he puts it: “If you can get a college kid to use your toothpaste in school, he’ll be hooked on that brand for the rest of his life.”

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