Here! TV, the gay and lesbian media company that runs an ad-free premium cable network of the same name, could start turning a profit before the end of this year, said Paul Colichman, the company’s CEO and cofounder.
“I don’t want to speak out of school, but it could happen this year,” he said in an interview with B&C after addressing TV critics meeting in Universal City.
The company was founded in 2003, basing its business model on niche-market networks such as BET, Lifetime and Nickelodeon. It’s now available in 70% of digital homes passed.
Last month, the here! premium channel went live on DirecTV. Besides that service it also markets pay-per-view services and video on demand programming.
Its library includes hundreds of films with gay themes. Now it’s investing in original programming, with 12 made-for-gay-TV films and six original series.
“Frankly, the last thing we need is more little gay intimate independent films. We already own all of them,” Colichman told critics at a breakfast. “We are focusing on story-form content. We are not doing cheap reality television.”
How much is he spending on each of those projects? “It’s not HBO,” quips Colichman. “But it’s certainly about the same as Showtime, Lifetime or the Sci-Fi channel.”
Besides the cable products, here! is pulling in revenue from its international division, theatrical releases of its films and a home video business.
Although the cable products are targeted at gays and lesbians, others are tuning in. On any given day, straight people account for 25% to 40% percent of the audience, says Colichman.