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ZDTV makes changes

Cabler, now Tech TV, adds programming

NEW YORK — ZDTV, the 24-hour cable network that delivers news of the computer industry, the Internet and digital technology, has changed its name to Tech TV and will punch up its six hours a day of original programming to more than nine hours by the end of next year.

Larry Wangberg, chairman and CEO of Tech TV, said the name change is a symbol of the network’s push to solidify its position as the only program service focusing on news coverage of digital lifestyles.

Tech TV reaches 19 million cable and satellite homes, with contractual commitments that will swell that total to 23 million by the end of the year, he said. Even with the growth, that’s still small potatoes compared to the subscriber counts of news-and-information channels like CNN (78.6 million), CNBC (73.3 million) and MSNBC (57.7 million).

Tech TV’s programming operation, based in what Wangberg calls “the largest production facility in San Francisco,” will continue to churn out TV series in five areas of digital technology: 1) product reviews, 2) help and how-to, 3) news, 4) finance and 5) entertainment.

Revs pumped up

Wangberg said that parallel to the growth plans of Tech TV is an ambitious effort to pump up the revenues of its techtv.com Web site, which has signed a distribution deal with Go2Net.

Tech TV will take over as Go2Net’s “primary content provider in the technology category,” allowing the cable network and its Web site to cross-promote their services to the 12 million people that land on Go2 each month.

As Greg Drebin, senior VP of programming for Tech TV, adds more original programming to the network’s mix, Wangberg said the projected revenue figures are likely to grow beyond the numbers reported by Paul Kagan Associates for Tech TV’s programming expenditures — $27.5 million in 2000 and $30.2 million in 2001.

But because Tech TV is a private company, owned by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures, Wangberg said he can’t be specific about how much money the company will spend.

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