A&E Networks, home of History Channel, A&E and Lifetime, wants to be viewed as a six-network portfolio instead of three, and its most recent rebrand of History International as H2 could be the model for reinventing the company's other channels.
H2 was created in September 2011 as a place to house the documentary-style fare once prevalent on History, which moved toward more personality-driven fare such as "Pawn Stars" and "Swamp People." But media buyers note H2 is more than just a home for History's library content -- it will roll out about a dozen new originals in 2013.
The channel, which is in nearly 70 million homes, has quickly attracted both viewers and advertisers. H2 averages 365,000 total viewers in prime time, and 170,000 in its target demo adults 25-to-54, ahead of more established channels like Science, Military, HLN, Nat Geo Wild and Speed. Its first original series, "America Unearthed," is averaging 765,000 viewers in 2013 and surpassed 1 million viewers for the first time in January.