When Barry Diller’s USA Networks recently announced agreements to purchase both the National Leisure Group, a vacation/cruise package agency, and 75% of online travel agency Expedia (for US$1.3 billion, which includes acquisition of Microsoft’s 70% share), plans to launch the USA Travel Channel went into high gear. The new 24-hour digital cable network, which is slated to debut later this year, is expected to complete the company’s multi-platform approach to sales in the travel industry.
According to company information, the channel will be produced by retail gurus from the Home Shopping Network (part of the USA family), with support from the Entertainment and Interactive groups within USA Networks. Following HSN’s lead, the channel will present information about vacation packages and make them immediately available for viewers to purchase.
At this time, USA declined to comment on other programming opportunities. However, Jon Miller, USA’s president and CEO of information and services, has said that the USA Travel Channel will be quite different from Discovery’s Travel Channel.