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Gospel Music Channel Chosen as No.1 Network

#1 to Add to Cable Systems; #1 in Family Viewing; #1 in Connecting with Audience


Distribution Gains, World Premiere Programming and New Sponsors Drive Nation's Only Family-Friendly Music Television Network Through its Strongest Growth Period


Contact: Jim Weiss, Gospel Music Channel, 770-692-4579, Jim@GospelMusicChannel.com


ATLANTA, Mar. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- Gospel Music Channel (GMC), the nation's first 24-hour music television channel dedicated to all styles of Christian and Gospel music, has ranked as the #1 emerging or mid-size network in the new annual survey of cable operators, it was announced today. GMC also ranked #1 in "audience attentiveness to advertising" and #1 in "feeling comfortable viewing with family" in a recent major advertising industry research report. These results come at a time when the network is enjoying the strongest period of growth across all facets of business since its launch just 28 months ago.


Results of the annual Beta Research Cable Operator Study found that Gospel Music Channel ranks as the #1 emerging or mid-size network among cable providers with large systems in large markets (200K+ and 100K+ subscribers.) Gospel Music Channel rated ahead of two dozen other cable networks, including The NFL Network, WE: Women's Entertainment, Soapnet, Hallmark Movie Channel, The Tennis Channel and Lifetime Real Women.


These results portend additional growth in the months ahead while coinciding with Gospel Music Channel's already strong recent increases in distribution. GMC is now seen in more than 100 markets (DMAs) around the country representing more than 3,000 cities and towns coast-to-coast. The channel projects an additional 50% increase on top of that, expecting to finish the year in more than 150 of the top 210 DMAs. Gospel Music Channel added one million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2006 alone. Comcast Cable - the nation's largest cable programming provider - has added GMC in such major cities as Chicago, Washington DC, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Richmond and Portland, OR. These new markets were in addition to Comcast's earlier successful launches of Gospel Music Channel in Atlanta, Nashville and Detroit.


Two other of the country's largest cable providers, Cox Communications and Charter Communications, also are continuing to add Gospel Music Channel, as is Verizon FiOS in all its rapidly expanding video markets. And, the channel is now carried by nearly 50 independent cable operators and telephone companies offering video. The immediate acceptance and positive response to Gospel Music Channel in new markets has been overwhelming.


Gospel Music Channel's growth extends to its expansion of world premiere original programming production. Gospel Music Channel has become the largest producer of original Gospel/Christian music television in the world, producing more than 200 hours of concerts, series, specials, and video with a commitment to producing the majority of new content in High Definition. Gospel Music Channel also just launched a seven-channel video on demand (VOD) service offering all genres on Gospel/Christian music. Gospel Music Channel On Demand is already available in more than 10 million homes and already ranks among the top third in popularity and usage in those homes.


Just two weeks ago, the channel wrapped a two-day, 10-artist, HDTV performance shoot in Nashville. The content captured in those few days will create numerous programs and have many applications including the network's Front Row Live concert series, countdown series Hot List, music videos, artist wrap-arounds, on-air promotion and more. Among the popular artists performing and participating were The Clark Sisters (in their TV farewell), Michael W. Smith, Mike Farris, Randy Owen of Alabama, Tammy Trent, Hawk Nelson, The Isaacs, Family Force Five, Austins Bridge and KJ-52. A similar shoot featuring Latino artists, led by popular star Julissa, will take place in Miami this Friday and Saturday and another Nashville production is scheduled for May.


With accelerated growth in distribution and increase in original programming has come a similarly impressive gain in attracting major advertisers. GMC has signed numerous advertising partners, including Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Mills, Hallmark Stores, Walgreens, Unilever, Lincoln Mercury, Reckitt Benckiser, Geico, Sony, Allstate, Lions Gate, Sara Lee, Sunny D, Paramount Pictures and Wal-Mart. According to a recent major advertising industry research report - The Myers Emotional Connections Study measuring viewers' emotional connections to nearly 50 emerging and mid-sized cable television networks - Gospel Music Channel ranks #1 in "overall emotional connections with audience," #1 in "audience attentiveness to advertising," #1 in "feeling comfortable viewing with family" and #3 in "audience engagement with network."


Charles Humbard, president and chief executive officer, Gospel Music Channel, said, "It is very gratifying and humbling that our vision to provide family-friendly entertainment programming with strong Christian values is being embraced on so many levels. We look forward to continued growth and success in the months ahead and pledge to our loyal viewers that we will continue to deliver the very best that Christian and gospel music have to offer."


Gospel Music Channel is the first 24-hour, all music television entertainment network devoted to the uplifting, inspiring and diverse music that is gospel. From the soulful sounds of artists like CeCe Winans, to the country gospel roots of Johnny Cash and Randy Travis, to the contemporary Christian music stylings of Kirk Franklin and Jars of Clay – Gospel Music Channel celebrates music that has a deep, spiritual place in people's lives. It embraces an audience that crosses cultures and captures generations delivering a fan base so large and passionate it deserves its own network.


From the soulful voices that fill the storied halls of Harlem to the contemporary sounds of today's Christian pop, rock, hip hop and R&B, gospel music has never been more diverse, and Gospel Music Channel has it all.