G4 Merger Interview

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posted 4/9/2004 by The GN Staff
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As many of you have heard Comcast (the owner of G4) recently purchased TechTV and they are planning to merge the two networks later this year. Since GN staffers tend to watch way to much of both networks we contacted them to see if we could get an interview about the merger. Luckily we were able to set something up to talk to David Shane, a spokesman for the company. Below is the trascription of that interview.

GamingNexus: Can you walk us through how the merger came about? How long has the idea of merging the two been floating around?
David Shane: The idea for the merger has been out there for over a year. It first began when Comcast approached TechTV about merging the channel with G4 and shortly after that TechTV well Vulcan rather, the owner of TechTV, announced they were going to sell the channel and they were looking for a buyer. And it’s been a long negotiating process, it’s been a complicated process but it just concluded last week. We are excited about merging the two channels and we’re excited about bringing together programming tha very complementary and programming that targets a very similar demo which is basically men 12 to 34 years old.

GamingNexus: Will the new network retain the G4 name and logos or will there be new branding elements?
David Shane: We are in a period right now called a quiet regulatory review period when the government takes a look and kind of blesses the merger. Typically it lasts 30-45 days. We anticipate everything to go very smoothly and we don’t anticipate any problems. But during this period we are looking at the TechTV name and the G4 name and thinking about maybe some combination of both. We are still in the process of working that out and working out our overall branding campaign so it’s something that we’ll rollout slowly after the close of regulatory review

GamingNexus: Will the focus of the network be taken off of video games, leaving a more tech-oriented network or will there be some kind of hybrid?
David Shane: G4 has been very successful with its focus on video games and we’re going to continue that core video game focus although I do think you are going to see the network broaden its focus a bit. So where we might have been a little more tightly focused on video games, we are going to take into account the video game lifestyle more now. So lifestyle programming that will relate to video games would be something that we focus on. To give you one example, it’s interesting I think. When you look at TechTV, their highest rated show is X-Play, the show based on video games, so there is a lot of synergy between the two channels. But at the end of the day our core focus will be a video game network tapping into that market. The recent figures I read were that it’s an 11 billion dollar business just in the US and 145 million Americans are gamers and that’s the network we are tapping into.

GamingNexus: Has there been a final determination of which shows will make the transition to and which ones will be phased out or is that still under review?
David Shane: We are going there right now. Our management team is meeting with the management team in San Fran and the people at TechTV have been terrific and we are working right now to evaluate shows and figure out which shows will make the transition. So there are some naturals like X-play that fit in very well and as far as other shows at TechTV we are taking a look. But you will see a network that’s a good combination of the two.
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