Jewish Life Television will present an expansive array of Chanukah-related programming this holiday season.
The network, which counts some 36 million subscribers via affiliate deals with DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Atlantic Broadband, will present 18 hours of Chanukah fare, highlighted by its Main Street special.
The one-hour show will center on the area known from 1928 through 1971 as Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region. Now called, Birobidzhan the area was once home to nearly 180,000 residents, predominantly Russian Jews. Russian-American singer Svetlana Portnyanksy will perform her second Chanukah concert and celebration in this remote destination, where the Jewish populous is much smaller, but there remains a number of Yiddish clubs and restaurants.
This and other cultural and service-themed programming marks the creation of what JLTV expects will be an annual programming franchise surrounding Chanukah, which Macy's and its 800 stores nationwide, will sponsor.
"We've always celebrated Chanukah as a holiday, but never taken the opportunity to address it for marketers," said JLTV COO Adam Blazer. "This is a way for us to thank our sponsors for supporting the holiday and the network."
Blazer believes that this initiative represents the first time a network has established a franchise celebrating the holiday on such a broad scale. "Clearly, there have been advertising commitments [against Chanukah] with a significant amount of money spent, but it has not reached a national level," he said. "Macy's wants to say thanks for being its customers."
Blazer says JLTV officials continue to negotiate with distributors around the country and expects the network will launch with one of the top two telco video providers next year. He also anticipates JLTV will rollout on Comcast systems serving Chicago, the fourth-largest Jewish market in the U.S., sometime during the first half of 2012.
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