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HEADING INTO SECOND YEAR, GOLF CHANNEL SEES HOPEFUL SIGNS
Published January 18, 1996
The Golf Channel, celebrating its first anniversary, is featured in USA TODAY. TGC is "finally ... beginning to climb, perhaps not walking as steadily as hoped, but at least on its feet after some faltering steps," according to Steve Hershey. Access to the channel and the initial cost proved troublesome at first, but the network is optimistic a new distribution strategy will work. Jon Mandel, Senior VP at Grey Advertising, said what "hurt them was starting with a pay basis ... They may have upset potential customers." Golf Channel President & CEO Joe Gibbs recently altered the pricing system and made deals with "three major cable companies" to improve distribution, while ending their year with 1.4 million subscribers. Gibbs: "The pricing just wasn't working. If we had understood the rate table at the beginning we would have gone in another direction." Now Gibbs said they will leave it up the cable companies to "market us to their best advantage." As far as commercial advertising, Gibbs said his "goal it to hold commercials to six minutes an hour," even though they could run more (USA TODAY, 1/18). The Golf Channel is also examined by Dave Shedloski of GOLFWEEK, who writes Gibbs will continue to try to increase viewership and fundraising, "scouring the nation's fairways for about $50 million" on top of the original investment of $120M. Gibbs: "Turner spent $300 million before CNN broke even, so we don't think our expenditures are out of line" (GOLFWEEK, 1/13 issue).