Vulcan Ventures, the investment arm of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, Wednesday announced plans to invest up to $100 million in Oxygen Media.
Oxygen Media is developing programming for women that will air on a cable television channel now in development as well as the Internet. In addition to the investment, Allen’s Charter Communications cable unit has agreed to carry Oxygen’s cable channel on a number of its systems. That channel is scheduled to launch Feb. 2, 2000.
Charter currently has 2.3 million subscribers in the United States. However, Allen has been aggressively purchasing cable systems and the company’s subscribers will total 3.6 million once those deals are finalized.
In addition to Vulcan, a number of famous names have backed Oxygen including Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Entertainment Group, America Online Inc., ABC Inc. and CWM LLC, formed by television producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach. All have minority stakes in Oyxgen.
William Savoy, Vulcan’s president, said the investment is an endorsement of the strategy of Oxygen chairman and chief executive officer Geraldine Laybourne’s plans to harness the power of convergence.
“Oxygen fits well into our ‘wired world’ strategy as it develops valuable new brands and builds on successful existing brands, such as Thrive and Moms Online, which will live on both the Internet and television,” he said.