Foxtel launched a new channel to its suite last night (Thu 16 February), targeted very specifically at the male 16-39 demographic A&E offers high-definition, first run factual content from parent US network A+E and will include local content to bolster the brand. Launching with new Cordell Jigsaw production Megatruckers A&E is a solid addition to the Foxtel package offering.

The launch event was held at the Carriageworks in Darlinghurst in Sydney, and featured one of the trucks from the Megatruckers franchise and owner/star Jon Kelly. A vast smattering of Sydney media attended the launch and got to feel some of the excitement around the launching network (as well as eat some good food and drink free alcohol).

Involved with the launch were Foxtel’s Brian Walsh (CEO) and Jim Buchan (Channel buyer/manager), and additionally Sean Cohan, senior vice-president, International for A+E attended to help spruik the brand. Continuing to build an important relationship for Foxtel, A+E Networks is a significant subscription TV group globally:

A+E Networks™ is an award-winning, global media content company offering consumers a diverse communications environment ranging from television networks to websites, to DVDs to gaming and educational software. Led by three iconic brands A&E Network®, HISTORY®, and Lifetime®, A+E Networks also includes Lifetime Movie Network, BIO™, History International™, Lifetime Real Women®, Military History™, History en Español™, Crime & Investigation Network™, and A&E IndieFilms®. A+E Networks channels and branded entertainment reach more than 300 million households in over 150 countries around the world. A+E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal.

I was lucky enough to interview both Sean and Jim after the launch event and discuss not only the launching network but the wider trends in television around the globe, the “golden age of television”, the rise of factual vs reality content and the importance of socialised television. It’s a solid interview in which both Sean & Jim were very open and honest with their opinions.

From the press release about the channel:

FOXTEL launches its new factual entertainment channel A&E this Thursday, February 16 at 5.30pm Qld time (6.30pm AEDT) on HD Channel 607 (and SD Channel 230).

A&E will deliver hundreds of hours of original and exclusive unscripted series to viewers in dynamic High Definition. A&E is full of attitude, it’s immediate, its personality driven and most compelling of all… it’s real.

The schedule for A&E in Australia is comprised of original and exclusive programming from the US cable giant A+E Networks. It will feature Australian premiere seasons of record-breaking series franchises including Storage Wars, Storage Wars Texas, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Billy The Exterminator, Pawn Stars and American Pickers. As well as Swamp People, Axe Men, American Pickers, Dog The Bounty Hunter and IRT: Deadliest Roads.

A&E has commissioned Cordell Jigsaw, creators of Bondi Rescue, to produce the one-hour special MegaTruckers. This uniquely Australian program will launch the channel at 5.30pm Qld time (6.30pm AEDT) this Thursday. Currently being developed as a series, MegaTruckers follows blue collar hero Queenslander Jon Kelly, the man who built Heavy Haulage Australia, based at Larapinta outside Brisbane, from scratch, and his “hard as nails” drivers hauling some of the world’s largest and heaviest loads across the treacherous Australian terrain.

A&E champions genuine, passionate and fearless risk takers who continually push their boundaries providing thrill and anticipation for viewers. These real life series centre on the high stakes lives of these captivating people whose risks are high and their rewards even greater, guaranteeing that every show and every moment keeps you on the edge of your seat.

SteveMolk attended the A&E launch in Sydney as a guest of Foxtel.