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G4
G4.svg
Current Logo
Launched April 24, 2002
Owned by G4 Media (a majority-owned subsidiary of Comcast)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan -TV 4 Gamers
-VideoGame TV
-TV That's Plugged In
Country United States
Language American English
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Formerly called G4techTV
Replaced TechTV
ZDTV
Sister channel(s) G4 Canada
E!
Style Network
Golf Channel
Versus
Comcast SportsNet
Website http://www.g4tv.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 310
Channel 1310 (video on demand)
Dish Network Channel 191
Cable
Verizon FiOS 191
Available on many cable systems Check local listings for channel numbers
IPTV
AT&T U-Verse 149 (SD)
1149 (HD)

G4, also known as G4 TV, is an American cable- and satellite-television channel originally geared toward male viewers aged 12–28, devoted to the world of video games. More recently, the channel has diverted its focus to general-interest programming that targets male viewers aged 17–36, although video games are still represented by the channel.

G4, launched on April 24, 2002,[1] is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, United States, and owned by G4 Media, a majority-owned subsidiary of Comcast.[2]

Contents

History

Early days

G4 was initially created by Comcast and Insight Communications.[3] The initial concept was to create a service similar to TechTV but "geared more toward MTV's demographics". The network was launched with thirteen original series, however, during the first week of airing, on Comcast's digital service, the video game Pong was shown. It featured the screen of a Pong board, with a game being played out. This was repeated until the channel's first shows premiered.

The launch shows[4] consisted of:

  • Arena — a digital sports-highlights game show
  • Filter — a top-ten countdown voted by viewers
  • Blister — focused on action/adventure game news
  • Cinematech — described as a showcase for the best high-end digital art
  • Sweat — focused on sports game news
  • Cheat! - tips on games
  • Portal — focused on multiplayer online games
  • Pulse — news on the video-game industry
  • Judgment Day — currently known as Reviews on the Run, "two video-game gurus will opine on the latest entries"
  • G4tv.com — an interactive talk show on video games

G4 was originally led by Charles Hirschhorn,[5] a former president of Walt Disney Television and Television Animation. He expected video game creators themselves to eventually produce programming for the network. He envisioned that G4 could follow in the footsteps of MTV which in his opinion provided music video producers with a venue for non-traditional television programming.[6] Hirschhorn intended G4 to become a vehicle for unconventional advertising. In 2002, G4 offered advertisers wide latitude to place their products on G4's programs, and even allowing their commercials to appear as if they're a part of the program.[7] G4 also offered what was called a "2 minute unit" which was an advertising package played as if it were part of a G4 program that was long enough to run an entire movie trailer. G4 also offered to sell the right to have a game showcased on the show "Pulse".[8]

TechTV acquisition

On March 25, 2004, Vulcan Inc. sold TechTV to G4 Media which merged both channels to become G4techTV.[9] The original TechTV production facilities located in San Francisco, California, were closed and the merged network headquarters consolidated in Los Angeles. Hirschhorn headed the combined entity.

On February 15, 2005, less than a year after the merger, the letters, "TechTV", were officially dropped from the channel's name in the U.S. and the channel became known again as G4.[10] However, on the network's affiliate in Canada, the "TechTV" letters remained a part of the name until mid-2009, when the channel was renamed G4 Canada.

Change in format

In September 2005, Neal Tiles[11] replaced Hirschhorn as the channel's president. Tiles had previously been a senior marketing executive at DirecTV, Fox Sports and ESPN.[12]

On May 6, 2006, Variety, the entertainment-trade magazine, reported,

"Now, under the aegis of Comcast and new president Neal Tiles, G4 is evolving into a lifestyle channel, peppered with videogame culture, as opposed to wall-to-wall games." 'We're going through a change. Guys like to play games, but not necessarily watch a bunch of shows with games on the screen,' Tiles says. 'So what we're doing now is expanding G4 from a network solely defined by videogames to one inspired by them.'"[13]

In 2007, G4, in association with Earth911,[14] launched an electronic- waste-recycling campaign called Gcycle.[15]

In June 2008, G4 launched G4 Rewind. This block showed older episodes of X-Play, Judgment Day, Cheat, G4tv.com, Arena, Portal, G4's Training Camp and GameMakers. G4 Rewind was eventually dropped due to the inability of the dated gaming content to attract significant ratings,[16] however G4 Rewind returned in Daytime reruns for older episodes of X-Play until January 2010. In May 2009 G4's website was completely redesigned with a more prominent role of gaming as the intended purpose.[17] Since the redesign of the website, G4's blog, TheFeed, has been overhauled as well.[18] On July 31 a new web video game discussion series, TheFeed: Nightcap debuted.[19] On August 28, 2009 TheFeed Nightcap debuted as Feedback.[20]

Consolidation

Logo used from February 2006 to March 2007. This logo is now used for G4 Canada.

Comcast, the parent company of both G4 and E! television channels, announced on October 12, 2006, that it would consolidate its west coast entertainment operations, including G4, E! and Style into a new group headed by Ted Harbert, who had formerly run the E! channel. It was announced that the upper management of the G4 channel would relocate to the E! channel's Los Angeles office.[21] On March 4, 2007, it was announced that the G4 Studios in Santa Monica, California, would close on April 15. Production of G4 programs was relocated to the studios of the E! channel elsewhere in the Los Angeles area. As a consequence, many G4 employees involved in production were terminated. The sets of G4's original programs were also redesigned to fit within the new smaller spaces allocated to them.

Harbert gave his opinion at the time that the focus of the channel on "gaming has been demonstrated as being too narrow." He also gave assurances that while G4 might change, it would not become extinct.[22][23] Design Studios Onesize and yU+Co teamed up to rebrand the G4 network as part of the transition.[24]

Layoffs and cut-backs

On February 17, 2009, it was reported that G4 intended to cut back its original content programming. X-Play would be reduced to three nights a week while Attack of the Show! would be cut to four nights a week. Consequently, a number of the staff and production crew involved in the shows would be laid off. Neal Tiles announced that Layla Kayleigh's contract will not be renewed and in April, she left G4.[25][26]

Criticism

The numerous changes to the network's programming brought on a storm of criticism from longtime TechTV/G4 fans across the internet, many[27] claiming that the channel has strayed too far from its gaming and technology roots, and accuse the channel of solely relying on shows like X-Play and Attack of the Show!. With most of the remaining G4 original shows having been severely altered, many saw this as G4's ongoing attempt to be a competitor to other male-oriented networks such as Spike,[28][29] thus losing any unique identity.[30] The merger and the attempt at male-oriented appeal[31] caused negative reaction on the fanbase's end.

G4 HD

G4 HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of G4 that launched on December 8, 2008. It is carried on AT&T U-verse [32] and Verizon FiOS It is slowly making its way to other cable providers including Cablevision, who began carrying the channel on June 29, 2009.[33]

G4 hosts

See also

References

  1. ^ G4 Aims Originals at Video Game Fans, Multichannel New 4/14/2002
  2. ^ About G4
  3. ^ Sieberg, Daniel (2002-04-22). "24-Hour Video Game Channel Set to Launch — Some Analysts Wonder if G4 Will Find an Audience", CNN Accessed 2009-10-18.
  4. ^ G4 Network Announces All-Original Programming Slate; Thirteen Original Weekly Series Featuring Everything for Gamers., Goliath 09-APR-02
  5. ^ Charles Hirschhorn, Forbes.com
  6. ^ Pressing Buttons 10.17.06: The Rise and Fall of G4 (PART 1), 411mania.com 0.17.2006
  7. ^ G4TV Launch Advertising Age 6.10.2002
  8. ^ G4TV Launch Advertising Age 6.10.2002
  9. ^ Comcast buys TechTV, San Francisco Chronicle March 26, 2004.
  10. ^ G4 Drops TechTV Handle, Broadcasting & Cable 1/10/2005.
  11. ^ G4 - About - Management - Neal Tiles - President
  12. ^ Neal Tiles bio
  13. ^ Martin, Denise (2006-05-08). "Cablers Make Play for Gamer Demos — G4 Evolving into a Lifestyle Channel, Peppered with Vidgame Culture". Variety. Accessed 2009-10-18.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Wilson, Mark (2007-94-22). "Earth Day Roundup: Not Lame, We Promise",Gizmodo. Accessed 2009-10-18.
  16. ^ Open Source Neal Tiles
  17. ^ Open Source - May 2009
  18. ^ Welcome To An All-New, All-Different Version Of G4tv.com's TheFeed! TheFeed Posted July 9, 2009 - By Raymond Padilla
  19. ^ TheFeed Nightcap, July 31st -- The Pilot Episode! TheFeed Posted July 31, 2009 - By Andrew Pfister
  20. ^ G4 Video - G4tv.com's Feedback
  21. ^ Comcast Broadens Harbert's Role, Broadcasting & Cable, 10/12/2006
  22. ^ E! pwns G4, Boing Boing OCTOBER 12, 2006
  23. ^ G4 Not Getting Axed, Voodoo Extreme, Oct 16, 2006
  24. ^ Design Studios Onesize and yU+Co Team Up To Rebrand G4 Network, Broadcast Newsroom, June 20, 2007
  25. ^ G4's "Open Source", March 2, 2009
  26. ^ G4's "X-Play", "Attack of the Show" Cut Back, Variety, February 17, 2009
  27. ^ Why G4 sucks, G4tv Forums OCTOBER 08, 2007
  28. ^ McDuffee, Keith (2005–09–27). "Coming to G4: The Man Show? Update June 1, 2008. G4 TV will be re-showing classic G4 shows such as Portal and other on their schedule starting June 2, 2008". TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/2005/09/27/coming-to-g4-the-man-show/. Retrieved 2007–08–08. 
  29. ^ Richey, Joshua. The Rise and Fall of G4 (Part 3). 411mania.com. November 2, 2006.
  30. ^ Richey, Joshua. The Rise and Fall of G4 (Part 4). 411mania.com. November 8, 2006.
  31. ^ G4 network tries a new game plan to get more guys
  32. ^ AT&T U-verse HD Channels
  33. ^ "HDTV channels". http://optimum.com/io/hdtv/hdtv_channels.jsp. 

External links








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