Comcast Corp., the top U.S. cable operator, Wednesday said it launched a new video on-demand channel targeting fitness buffs that will do away with traditional commercial advertising.
The new channel, Exercisetv, which features instructional videos on yoga, dancing, and walking, is backed by the No. 2 cable operator Time Warner Cable, fitness guru Jake Steinfeld and athletics company New Balance.
Excercisetv will be the first cable channel accessible by its digital cable customers, over wireless connections and online, that will have no traditional advertising, Comcast said.
Instead, the channel will incorporate a handful of new marketing concepts by integrating promotions into the shows in the form of product placements, graphic overlays, and segments co-produced with sponsors.
Comcast is pitching the new network as one way it sees the future of television evolving. "
"Exercisetv represents the next generation of television networks we are developing that are created for on-demand viewing," Steve Burke, chief operating officer of Comcast said in a statement.
Its launch comes amid a backdrop of new experimentation across the media industry aimed at reaching viewers that are relying on the Internet and gadgets for entertainment.
Although television remains the top method for reaching a mass audience, gadgets such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod digital music and video player, and new video services offered by big Internet portals Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. now compete for viewer attention.
The network is available on Comcast and Time Warner systems.