PrideVision shutters studio

Once touted as the perfect equation for a successful diginet, Toronto-based PrideVision TV, owned by Headline Media Group, was forced to close its Church Street studio Dec. 13, losing seven staff, leaving it with a total of eight full- and part-time staff at its King Street headquarters.
Launched in fall 2001, targeting the niche gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered market, the station has struggled to grow beyond its current subscriber base of 20,000.

Once touted as the perfect equation for a successful diginet, Toronto-based PrideVision TV, owned by Headline Media Group, was forced to close its Church Street studio Dec. 13, losing seven staff, leaving it with a total of eight full- and part-time staff at its King Street headquarters.

Launched in fall 2001, targeting the niche gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered market, the station has struggled to grow beyond its current subscriber base of 20,000. VP marketing Anna McCusker says in addition to paring down staff, the digital station has had to suspend all new programming.

As part of an initiative to increase its subscriber base to a healthy 50,000, PrideVision offered Rogers digital subscribers two free weekends of programming, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 and from Dec. 6-8.

‘Each carrier was invited and asked and pleaded with to open up the free preview,’ says McCusker. ‘Rogers was the only one that worked extremely fast and did everything possible to ensure PrideVision’s success.’

On the first day of the free preview, Rogers reported 3,400 households tuned in, with an average 1,200 viewers per day throughout the preview. PrideVision appealed to the GLBT community, asking current subscribers to show their support for PrideVision by hosting events for potential subscribers.

McCusker says PrideVision is hopeful and is not prepared to give up just yet. ‘We’re still very optimistic as to the opportunity of having a partner come in and there are interested parties. Having made history for the GLBT community and making it in Canada, we feel that we are a success story regardless of what happens.’