Current Media Files $100M IPO - Broadcasting & Cable

Current Media Files $100M IPO

Current TV Cofounded by Former Vice President Al Gore, Attorney Joel Hyatt
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Current Media, parent company of Current TV, the network cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore and attorney Joel Hyatt, filed a $100 million initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.

According to filings with the SEC, the network plans to use part of the money obtained by an IPO to pay off debt the company has accrued totaling some $36 million.

The network -- available in some 51 million households worldwide, 41 million in the United States -- relies on content submitted by viewers, coupled with professionally produced in-house content.

Current has also experimented with new ways of reaching viewers through multiple platforms, which it views as the future of content distribution.

According to SEC filings from Current: “Today's young adults assemble a broad view of the world from a large number of sources. They are not looking for a single oracle to analyze and interpret news and current events, as Walter Cronkite once did for a previous generation. They grew up being encouraged to analyze and debate, to influence and interact.”

The filing also revealed the importance of the network’s founders in maintaining the company’s success. “Our founders have been instrumental in the development of our business, including in securing distribution and advertising agreements, and the loss of the services of either Mr. Gore or Mr. Hyatt would have a material adverse effect on our ability to grow our business or maintain important commercial relationships,” the network said in the filing. “In particular, if Mr. Gore were no longer actively involved in our business or no longer to hold a substantial ownership stake in us, our relationships with key distributors and our business could be materially and adversely affected.”

The network’s advertising strategy is still in its nascent stages, and its income comes primarily from deals with cable operators and satellite companies. However, in the filings, Current made expanding its advertising presence a priority, along with expanding distribution in the United States and abroad.

Despite the problems, the network also experienced significant revenue growth, jumping from $37.9 million in 2006 to $63.8 million in 2007. It is that growth, combined with the leadership of Gore and Hyatt, along with a strong sales pitch, that Current hopes will lure investors.

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