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Network Description & Basic Information (Source: wikipedia.org)

i: Independent Television, or simply i, is a broadcast and cable television network first broadcast on August 31, 1998 under the name PAX. The network is primarily owned by Paxson Communications, although NBC Universal also has a 32% share. Programming is family-oriented and contains little or no sex, violence, or strong language. The network changed its name at the beginning of July 2005.

Unlike most TV networks in the United States such as ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC, i has a national feed that is part of basic DBS packages as well as having its affiliates carried by cable TV systems. i programming consists of some original programming mixed with reruns of various TV shows and movies and some Christian-oriented programming.

It was estimated in 2003 that PAX was viewable by 74.25% of all households, reaching 79,185,730 houses in the United States. The network has 94 VHF- and UHF-owned-and-operated or affiliate stations in the U.S., although these stations are mainly poorly watched UHF stations, and not all of the stations air i's complete nightly transmission. Some local i stations rebroadcast that market's NBC affiliate's newscasts at a later time.

i is not considered by many to be a channel on par with the six existing major national broadcast networks, as it is not received in many parts of the country yet. It has no stations in several major markets, most notably Charlotte, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Typically, i television shows average only 1% of the viewing audience, which is considerably lower than any other (major) broadcast network. To compare, the "big 3" networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) frequently garner 1522% of viewers.

In 2003 PAX scaled back its operations, presumably due to financial losses: it was originally offering five or six new series each season. That year the number of new series airing on PAX dwindled to just two: Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye (now pulled due to non-renewal) and Doc. The netlet seemingly recovered a year later when seven TV series made it to PAX's 200405 schedule.

In the spring of 2005, it was reported that PAX intended to break its contract with NBC Universal, eliminate all entertainment programming, and rely on infomercials, direct response advertising, and other paid programming to help increase cash flow. However, the network issued a press release on May 25, 2005, in which Paxson Communications chairman Lowell "Bud" Paxson was quoted as saying, "There have been several reports in the press that the Company is dropping or reducing entertainment programming. Those reports are totally incorrect. The Company will continue to offer the same or an increased amount of entertainment programming than it has in the past."

On June 28, 2005, Paxson announced it would rebrand PAX as i, to reflect a new strategy of "providing an independent broadcast platform for producers and syndicators who desire to reach a national audience." After the transition is complete, Paxson, which is currently digital multicasting on 45 of its 60 stations, will continue to air programming under its PAX TV brand on one of its digital channels over the air and in select cable homes. Some media observers feel that that is code for infomercial.

With this rebranding also comes the following changes to the programming lineup:

i has dropped programming from Worship, which has been airing late nights on the network since its launch in August of 1998. The time period previously for Worship's programming is now leased to infomercials.

In many markets starting in the fall of 2002, i had aired editions of local newscasts from local NBC affiliate stations. This has been discontinued from some i station lineups, mainly occuring on June 30, 2005.

In addition, "Tomorrow's Weather Tonight", a five-minute segment featuring current weather and forecasts from WeatherVision which has aired on the channel since 2000, has also been dropped.
 
 
 
 
 

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