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ZDTV Gets New Image, New Name

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Reflecting new ownership and a desire to more precisely communicate its niche, online and on-air TV network ZDTV today unveiled a new look and a new name, techtv. The network also made known that it has reached 20 million households and will be launching Sept. 1 in New York City on Time Warner's digital cable channels.

One of the catalysts for the image makeover was the purchase of ZDTV in January by Internet mogul Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures from Ziff-Davis, which launched ZDTV in 1998.

The network also wants to increase awareness that it can deliver viewers who have what it calls a "digital lifestyle," said its evp and COO, Joe Gillespie. They are "people who are interested in how technology works and people who are interested in what they can get out of technology—Web shopping, looking for colleges online, using digital cameras or downloading music," he said. "With ZDTV, people assumed the network is about computing and the Internet, and it's not."

The network is broadcast online and via satellite and cable TV. Another attraction to media buyers is techtv's ability to deliver interactive viewers—about half of the techtv audience watches it simultaneously on TV and the Web.

Currently, more than 100 advertisers use the network, including many tech companies, as well as traditional ones such as American Express, Ford and UPS.

"Their size has been a rap against them," said Sean Cunningham, evp and media director at Universal McCann in New York. "But the quality of the audience, self-evidently tech involved and information hungry, is a real advantage. … And the amount of their viewers' simultaneous involvement on their Web site in real time can help you make a very productive sales call.

"I think [the new brand name] is a smart, straightforward choice," he added. "It should have the same amount of automatic affinity that the golf channel has for golfers."