TechTV goes live for 5

TechTV is becoming a Headline News of all things digital. The network "dedicated to the digital lifestyle" is adding six hours of new programming-five of it live-to the daily schedule under the umbrella moniker of TechTV Live.

The bulk of the new programming block is a four-hour, live news wheel divided into technology news, help, new products and entertainment, and consumer advice, said Greg Drebin, senior vice president of programming. Segment lengths will typically be one hour, but may vary depending on the major story of the day.

"If a major virus is launched, we'll have more help segments and probably a cybercrime segment," he said.

The four-hour
TechTV Live

news wheel will run from noon to 4 p.m. daily. The other two hours of new programming will consist of two, live half-hours of market news coverage, one at 7 a.m.; the other at 4 p.m.; and a one-hour wrap-up show in prime time called
Best of Tech Live.

The new programming block will be launched April 2, 2001.

TechTV Chairman and CEO Larry Wangberg said the new programming initiative arose out of previous shows and profiles on the network that led to technology news in the mainstream press. "We are the only network that's a real go-to network for what's happening on the technology front, whether it's the introduction of a chip or a new technology."

TechTV was launched by Ziff-Davis as ZDTV in May of 1998. Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures subsequently bought the network, which was rebranded earlier this year.

As a private company, TechTV's programming budget is closely held, but Wangberg did say that production is nearly doubling, from 31 hours to 59 hours per week. Accordingly, new staff is being hired, new bureaus are being added in Washington, New York City and Seattle, and new studio space has been acquired in San Francisco, where TechTV is based.

TechTV reaches around 20 million U.S. households. The network is not yet rated by Nielsen, but Wangberg said a growing number of non-technology advertisers are embracing it, including General Motors, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi. Wangberg said there are no immediate plans to take the company public, "but it is possible at some future date."