Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:23 am Post subject: Whisky galore: a TV channel just for Scotch
A HOLLYWOOD film mogul is launching the world's first internet television channel dedicated solely to single malt Scotch whisky.
The brainchild of Australian film producer Rob Draper, Singlemalt.tv, a 24-hour online whisky channel comprising news, features and ongoing series, will go live at the end of this month.
Hosted by industry 'nose' and best-selling author Charlie MacLean, the channel aims to tap into the growing worldwide interest surrounding single malt whisky. It will also be a pioneer in the online television market for specialist interest programming.
Draper, who has worked on some of Hollywood's biggest projects, including the Halloween franchise, says preliminary interest in the channel has exceeded all expectations.
The channel, hosted by Narrowstep, one of the world's leading internet television service providers, will be available to subscribers at a cost of around £20 a year. Draper is hoping to attract significant targeted advertising revenue.
Speaking from Islay, where he is currently filming, Draper said: "Internet television is the future. So far the interest has been phenomenal - we put a place-holder website up on the web and we have already shut down one server in the United States because it can't handle the volume of traffic coming into it."
Draper says that the idea came to him while he was working in Los Angeles. Most of the major television networks in the US are now struggling to attract advertising revenue from an industry that is becoming increasingly more sophisticated.
Draper says that a television channel based on one particular specialist interest or theme can provide a magnet for advertisers. After toying with a number of ideas, including a cycling channel, he opted for Scotch whisky because he knew it had a wide appeal.
He added: "By the end of 2007, all the major networks in the US will have launched high-quality, niche-market internet channels.
"Singlemalt.tv is not an internet site, it is a television channel broadcast through the internet. I have done a lot of work on internet television going back to 1997 and it really is the future of television and the future of internet.
"We are going to do very high-quality programming and my goal is to make it intelligent programming for people who want good entertainment, want to be informed and want to have fun.
"Based on the response we have had so far, I really believe there is a market for it."
The channel has camera crews lined up in Norway, France, Holland, Australia, Singapore and India waiting to film content. The site has had 5,000 users within the first two weeks.
MacLean, author of Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History and chairman of the nosing panel at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said the TV channel was "an idea whose time is come".
He said: "Never has there been such global interest in Scotch, particularly Scotch malt whisky. What better medium to inform and entertain about the subject? The whisky industry is blessed with some amazing characters and so we are already finding there is some terrific material."
Earlier this month, Time Out New York magazine launched its own TV channel with a series of more than 200 video reviews and profiles of New York's best restaurants, nightlife, theatre, museums, shopping and spas, children's programmes and other forms of entertainment.
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