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TechTV

From Academic Kids

TechTV (May 11, 1998 - May 28, 2004) was a 24-hour cable and satellite television channel based in San Francisco, California, featuring news and shows about computers, technology, and the Internet. It originally was called ZDTV by its founder, Ziff-Davis, when it debuted on May 11, 1998. It later was owned by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures. Vulcan Ventures sold TechTV to G4 Media (owned primarily by Comcast), which merged it with the video game channel G4 in May 2004 to form G4techTV. In February 2005, the name was changed back to G4, eliminating TechTV from the name completely.

A few of the personalities and hosts that were featured on TechTV programming included Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Adam Sessler, Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, Megan Morrone, Jessica Corbin, Catherine Schwartz, Morgan Webb, Michaela Pereira, Victoria Recaņo, and Jennifer London.

Contents

History

Vulcan Ventures first invested in ZDTV in November 1998, acquiring a one-third interest from Ziff-Davis. In November 1999, Vulcan purchased the remaining two-thirds in a transaction that was completed on January 21, 2000. The deal (which permitted Vulcan to continue using the "ZD" initials and "red diamond" logo) was worth approximately $204.8 million.

In July 2000, it was announced that ZDNet would be acquired by CNET, placing ZDTV in the awkward position of using the initials and logo of a company that soon would belong to its main TV programming rival. On August 21, 2000, ZDTV was renamed TechTV, and a new on-air strategy was announced along with a slew of new series.

Soon, TechTV made a huge commitment to live broadcasting when it launched a nine-hour experimental news program called Tech Live in April 2001. The show, which catered to daytraders and business types, never caught on with TechTV's geeky audience. In November 2001, following a massive round of layoffs, Tech Live was divided into three one-hour shows. In the spring of 2002, Tech Live was cut further into just one thirty-minute daily news magazine show, with a focus less on tech news and more on how technology changed people's lives.

TechTV boasted that it was available in more than 40 million households in the United States and Canada, as well as distributing content to more than 70 countries including Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

TechTV Canada (now G4techTV Canada) launched on September 7, 2001 as a joint venture of TechTV, Rogers Media and Shaw Communications.

Beginning in 1999, TechTV experienced repeated layoffs. In 2002, Silicon Spin (which launched in May 1998) and AudioFile (launched in August 2000) were canceled, but 2003 saw the introduction of several new shows (such as Performance, Robot Wars, and Unscrewed with Martin Sargent).

In late 2001 and early 2002, many Comcast cable systems dropped TechTV from their channel lineups. At the time, some fans speculated that this was done to eliminate a competitor to the Comcast-owned G4. When Comcast's G4 Media acquired TechTV and merged it with G4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TechTV#Merger) in 2004, a second theory (suggesting that Comcast's actual motive was to lower TechTV's value, and ultimately its asking price) emerged.

Merger

On March 25, 2004, Comcast's G4 gaming channel announced a merger with TechTV. This move became hugely controversial among loyal fans of TechTV and Leo Laporte, because of a contract dispute with Vulcan that caused Laporte to leave the channel. Around May 6, G4 announced the termination of 250 employees from the San Francisco office by July 10, 2004, allowing approximately 80 to 100 employees to transition to G4's main office in Los Angeles if they agreed to relocate there. [1] (http://leoville.com/blog/index.php/TLR/comments/comcast_fires_techtv_staff/)

On May 10, 2004, G4 Media completed the acquisition of TechTV from Vulcan. G4techTV was launched in the US and Canada on May 28, 2004. This lead to the cancelation of many of the TechTV channels throughout carriers across the world. On January 3, 2005, TechTV International began airing select programs from G4techTV.

On February 15, 2005, the TechTV brand was dropped from the United States G4techTV feed, leaving the network name as G4 - video game television. For the time being, the Canadian feed has retained the G4techTV name.

Only four TechTV personalities, Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, Morgan Webb, and Adam Sessler, survived the merger. Kevin Rose has since left the network.

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