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GAO gives go-ahead to Smithsonian on demand

After the Smithsonian Institution signed a 30-year contract with Showtime Networks last March to create a digital on-demand TV channel, the group is about to launch Smithsonian On Demand. The first programming service from the Smithsonian Networks joint venture, the channel will focus on the American experience with 'branded, original content inspired by the Smithsonian Institution.' Up to 40 hours of programming will be refreshed monthly, including original docs and short pieces covering major scientific, cultural and historical events.
January 1, 2007

After the Smithsonian Institution signed a 30-year contract with Showtime Networks last March to create a digital on-demand TV channel, the group is about to launch Smithsonian On Demand. The first programming service from the Smithsonian Networks joint venture, the channel will focus on the American experience with ‘branded, original content inspired by the Smithsonian Institution.’ Up to 40 hours of programming will be refreshed monthly, including original docs and short pieces covering major scientific, cultural and historical events.

A report recently released by the US Government Accountability Office, an independent watchdog, states ‘the Smithsonian projects the new channel will reach more than 31 million households by 2010 and will have a total value of over US$150 million after 10 years.’ The same report also states that ‘it is too early to determine the long-term impact of the [Showtime Networks and Smithsonian Institution] contract’ on filmmakers, but recommends ‘additional information should be developed and provided to filmmakers on the impact of the Showtime contract.’

More details describing what the channel is and how it will work with filmmakers to produce non-fiction content will be discussed on January 29 during a closing forum at the Realscreen Summit.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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