Inspiration Lights Up Halogen Network

Inspiration Networks has rebranded its religious and lifestyles i-Lifetv service as the Halogen Network, in an effort to reach a younger, more socially-conscious viewer.

The new multiplatform service — which was scheduled to debut Saturday, Oct. 24 — features original and licensed programming that moves away from Inspiration’s more religious-tinged fare toward a more entertainment-based channel targeted to 18-to-34-year-old viewers who want to make a difference with their lives, according to Halogen general manger Rebekah Henderson.

“Our research looked at who [the 18-to-34-year-olds] were and found that they were people that cared about their community, country and environment and wanted to make a difference,” she said. “We thought, 'What if we could create a brand on television that speaks to these longings, while entertaining and inspiring them to do the things they say they want to do?’”

The network replaces Inspiration’s 11-year old i-Lifetv religious/lifestyles channel and takes over its 13 million households, per deals reached with i-Lifetv distributors. It’s unclear whether Halogen will charge a monthly license fee similar to i-Lifetv’s nearly 5 cents per subscriber.

“i-Lifetv has been a pioneering, lifestyle network …but our research and feedback from consumers and our distribution partners demonstrated that it was time for a new vision,” INSP chief operating officer Bill Airy said in a statement. “Halogen targets an underserved demographic group, meeting the needs not only of the market but also of our distribution partners.”

Halogen launches with a slew of original and exclusively licensed content that reflects a wide span of genres including comedies, dramas, documentaries and magazine shows. Among the original shows debuting on the channel include Tainted Love, which explores sex trafficking in the U.S.; Noble Exchange, which showcases the beauty and culture of countries around the world; Jump Shipp, a documentary/reality pilot which stars motivational speaker Josh Shipp as he looks to inspire someone stuck in a dead-end career; and Alumni, a dramatic reality series that follows five recent college graduates as they search for meaning and purpose in the face of real-world challenges.

Henderson said that unlike other networks, Halogen will allow viewers to watch pilots to help determine whether the network should green-light them as series.

“We want this network to be a voice for the viewer and a platform for them,” she said. “There are so many people out there that are doing great things, and we want to highlight them.”

On the new-media side, the network launched its Web site (halogentv.com) several months ago. Various blogs promote the upcoming programming, according to Henderson.

Eventually, the site will offer Web-exclusive programming and social media tools, with mobile content extensions expected to launch next year, she said.

Halogen will be available to operators in both standard-definition and high-definition, with a companion VOD service launching in early 2010, Henderson said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.