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Struggling Voom! Divides to Conquer

Struggling satellite upstart Voom! will split its 3,000-film library among 11 new movie channels starting Jan. 1. The new genre-specific channels, designed to help viewers navigate flicks on the HD satellite service, will expand Voom’s existing movie channel suite and add to the satellite service’s three dozen current HD channels. New channels include western focused Gunslingers HD, comedy centered ha ha HD and martial-arts movie house, Kung Fu HD.

The move comes after Voom’s parent company Cablevision filed with the SEC last week to suspend a spin-off of its satellite division Rainbow Media DBS, possibly disbanding or selling Voom.

That move pleased Wall Street analysts, who have been troubled by the money-losing service since it launched in 2003 to provide HD satellite programming; rival satellite services DirecTV and EchoStar already boast a slew of HD networks as well as many more subscribers. Through September, Voom! had only 26,000 subs compared to DirecTV’s 12 million and EchoStar’s 10 million.

So far, Cablevision has spent about $150 million on Voom. Rainbow’s other assets include cable networks AMC, IFC and WE. Cablevision’s other holdings include regional cable and telecom interests, Madison Square Garden and its sports teams, Radio City Music Hall, and Clearview Cinemas.

Voom!’s other new HD movie channels are World Cinema HD, The Majestic HD (classics, Film Fest HD (art house films), Family Room HD (family-friendly flicks), Guy TV (men’s movies) and Vice HD (cops and robbers).