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History Enlists New Channel

This spring, The History Channel will spin off Military History Channel, its fourth domestic network. Cable operators can preview the network on satellite Galaxy 10R beginning Jan. 5 at 8 p.m.

The new network will focus on important subjects, figures and events in military history, drawing on The History Channel’s library of military programming, according to president Dan Davids. The target audience is men 35-54.

The move comes after History International introduced a military programming block in March 2004 and amid competition being mustered by others..

Last month, Discovery Communications announced it will re-launch one if its digital multiplex nets, Discovery Wings Channel, as the Military Channel beginning Jan. 10.

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense launched an ad-free 24/7 military news and information service called Pentagon Channel to get its brand of military news to US troops, and is now recruiting cable and satellite operators to carry the channel.

Davids cited the current war in Iraq for creating viewer interest in military programming. “Some people have questions about Iraq – how we’re there, how we’re conducting ourselves, battle strategies, military decisions,” he said. “Going back and looking at prior conflicts and seeing parallels and contradictions helps understand.”

Marketing efforts for the new Military History Channel include partnerships with the Army and the Smithsonian museum, and cross-promotion on The History Channel’s other networks.

The History Channel, owned by A&E, premiered in 1995 devoting much of its programming to military coverage. The network is now available to more than 87 million subscribers. Other networks in the History franchise are History International and The History Channel en español.