20 October 2000

Troubled women’s cable TV channel Oxygen Media is seeking new investors and partners to boost its viewing figures.

Although the channel claims audiences of 13 million, independent estimates are closer to 10m. Both, however, fall far short of the figure of 50m which would typically attract advertisers’ attentions.

Cable networks have so far been reluctant to sign Oxygen. It is seen as charging too much for an unproven service, especially as it has targeted carriage on the choice analog tier, something for which new channels usually pay.

Oxygen is believed to have talked to various media companies about taking a stake alongside current investors AOL and Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.

Other proposed schemes include programme partnerships and the insertion of branded sections of Oxygen shows into popular NBC programmes.

A deal with cable companies may also be on the table. Oxygen chief Geraldine Laybourne stated “We're counting on the cable operators to help us fund it, and we're going to give them a chance to participate in some of the long-term future and the upside”.

News source: Wall Street Journal