Einstein TV to set theory in motion
Using the name of world renowned physicist Albert Einstein as a teaser, TV-web channel Einstein.tv believes its desire “to feed hungry minds” will help it compete in the crowded universe of digital broadcast after it launches this month.
Pointing out that by this month the UK will have 160 digital channels (of which 148 will be pay-TV channels), with another 12 to come by the spring of this year, Steve Timmins, group CEO, said Einstein.tv only had one real rival in terms of subject matter, and that is Discovery Sci-Trek.
Einstein.tv will launch on Sky Digital on January 25, and at the same time will relaunch from its original Einstein Channel tag in Germany, where it is part of a Deutsche Telekom package. It plans to reach 16 European countries in five languages by the end of 2001. Stuart Pearson, head of channel, said that following the UK launch Einstein.tv would consider developing an interactive service on Sky. It will be a rolling information service focussing on science and technology. The channel will air between 20:00-24:00 GMT on weekdays and from 09:00 to 20:00 at weekends on the S4C Astra satellite. It has four main strands: life science, earth science, space exploration and technology. Each genre will run for an hour, comprising five-minute items and advertising slots.
Apart from advertising Einstein.tv will be looking to gain revenue from programming, of which it aims to produce 60 per cent internally. With Timmins saying the average cost of producing its own material is GBP8,500 an hour, and that the channel is putting GBP1.5 million into the launch programming, it will need to sell plenty of self-generated content to supplement ads revenue. The company also produces programmes for other sources, not all of which are science-based, as a means of income.
Talking of the need to be “future proof”, Timmins noted, “We think our brand is aware of and ready for convergence.” By running a compatible website (http://www.einstein.tv) with facts, a Q&A section and reports he believes he can create a viewer base similar in number to The History Channel and Discovery Sci-Trek.
However, his comment that “TV is, I’m sorry to say, on the way out and the net is poised to take over,” could cause some to disagree. TV and the web are indeed converging but the notion that TV is dead – when some studies suggest widescreen digital TVs will out sell PCs by 2004 – is debatable.