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THE EYE: Independent Video Network Is Launched By Studio M


December 23,2000: NEW MUSIC VIDEO NETWORK: Here's something different: a U.S. music-video network not owned by Viacom.

Studio M is a new, independently owned, national music-video network that launched Dec. 11 on UHF TV stations and some cable systems in various U.S. markets, via affiliations with the America One Network and the American Independent Network. Studio M is on the air daily for four hours, with a programming mix of pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and country. Studio M airs late nights in most markets.

Founded by producer Michael Lloyd ("Dirty Dancing" soundtrack), the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Studio M will target "a broad audience, somewhat like the audience that the WB network is targeting, but we're not trying to be all things to all people," says Lloyd, Studio M's president. "There are a lot of great artists who don't get exposure on the other music-video networks. We hope to expose new talent and give them an honest shot at getting a breakthrough hit."

According to Studio M, the network can reach about 35-40 million U.S. households. The network is available in about 180 U.S. cities, mainly on suburban TV stations.

Key affiliates include WFNA-TV and MediaOne/AT&T Cable in Atlanta; WBGN-TV Pittsburgh; WBQC-TV Cincinnati; KCNG-TV Las Vegas; WHTW-TV Hartford, Conn.; WBSV Sarasota, Fla.; KJLA-TV and KSTV-TV in Ventura, Calif.; WSPY-TV Plano, Ill.; WVVH-TV Southampton, N.Y.; WCMN-TV St. Cloud, Minn.; WJFB-TV Lebanon, Tenn.; KMCF Fresno, Calif.; and KOPE-TV Tulsa, Okla.

Studio M has partnered with Newark, N.J.-based pop show "Power Play" to license more than 25,000 videos in the "Power Play" library. "Power Play" will also do cross-promotions with Studio M. "We're not just playing videos," says Studio M CEO Max Keller. "We also have original programming." Those programs include "Pillow Talk" (a talk show in which artists will be interviewed on a bed) and a request show called "Live Wire."

Other Studio M programs include "Studio M Country," "Urban Jams," "Studio M Hits," "Studio M Countdown," and the edgy rock show "Night Shadows." Other key Studio M staffers are COO Jack Freedman, VP of business development Jeffrey Weber, chief of operations Greg Furgason, and VP of marketing Michelle Miller. Furgason and Miller are also "Power Play" staffers.

Lloyd says that he and Weber will be responsible primarily for booking artists and selecting the videos on Studio M. All mailings for Studio M can be sent to 14225 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, Calif. 91423.