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New AFN TV channel targets 18-35 male audience

By CHARLIE COON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 4, 2006

(Click here for the Pacific edition's version of this story)

The American Forces Network is launching a new TV channel on Saturday, AFN|xtra, designed to appeal to young adults.

The new channel will appear where AFN-Korea used to play. For the next few days, the new channel will run a loop that explains AFN’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Later this month, the new channel will be devoted to Olympics coverage.

On Feb. 26, after the Olympics, AFN|xtra will kick off its new programming, which is aimed at men ages 18-35.

During the week, AFN|xtra will feature shows on extreme sports, professional wrestling, Outdoor Life Network and the new G4 video-game channel, among other offerings. On weekends, additional sports programming will be played to augment AFN-Sports, according to Capt. Jeff Clark, an AFN-Europe spokesman.

“But [AFN|xtra] has such a wide variety of programming that it should be pretty entertaining to anybody in the audience, at least some of the programs,” Clark said.

The moves were made because AFN-Korea’s programming was largely the same as being shown on AFN-Prime Atlantic and AFN-Prime Pacific, Clark said. So the network eliminated AFN-Korea, which opened up the slot for AFN|xtra, and shuffled some shows between its other stations.

“We had this extra channel of real estate (AFN-Korea) that was a waste,” Clark said. “Now we can put a bunch of new programs on.”

AFN-Korea, which could previously be obtained in South Korea by using an antenna, was not able to air programs that the South Korean government found objectionable, such as “Desperate Housewives,” Clark said. Its programming, except for the objectionable shows, was largely the same as its sister stations, Atlantic and Pacific.

The few shows considered objectionable have recently been moved to AFN-Spectrum, which is only available by satellite using a decoder.

In Europe, only AFN-Prime Atlantic can be received by using an antenna. Those viewers also now will not be able to see the so-called objectionable shows because they have been moved to AFN-Spectrum, which is broadcast via satellite and requires a decoder.

Clark said only a small number of viewers are able to pick up AFN-Prime Atlantic via antenna, and only those viewers would be affected by the less-spicy programming now on that channel.

AFN-Prime Atlantic and Pacific would be otherwise unchanged, and each will continue to show virtually the same programming except for local newscasts.


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