Gay TV channel to launch in ’97

The first national general entertainment and lifestyle TV channel for gay men and lesbians will launch in the UK next year.

The station, Rainbow Television Network, aims to attract a broad-based audience of gay, lesbian and “gay-friendly heterosexuals” from all walks of life.

It will offer an entertainment-led programme mix with no porn, insists Rainbow spokesman Mike Johnson: “There are four adult heterosexual services: we do not plan to go down that route.”

Instead, Rainbow aims to offer a light entertainment alternative to existing services and to attract advertisers and sponsors eager to tap in to the gay economy.

Johnson says the station reckons there are up to 7 million gay men and lesbians in the UK; and none of them are being catered for properly by mainstream broadcasters.

Although unwilling to put a value on the spending power of the so-called pink pound, he adds: “We think it’s more than sufficient to satisfy a dedicated TV channel.”

Johnson refuses to comment on the identity of those behind the launch, claiming the station has gay and heterosexual supporters and two backers already in place.

He adds that while Rainbow will fill a gap in the TV market, it will not be a political crusade. The station is likely to be carried on cable, although could be available on satellite depending on transponder capacity.

National lesbian and gay free newspaper The Pink Paper has been relaunched. A new design makes the title look more grown up and Eurocentric, publisher Chronos Group believes. Meanwhile, Gay Times also gets a new look beginning with the May issue, when the masthead will appear bolder, stretched across the whole cover, and clearer inside signposting.

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