New Cabler Aspire Adds Coke, Walmart As Advertisers

It hasn't aired one minute of programming, yet new cable channel Aspire has a growing roster of big-time TV marketers.

Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart will be new charter advertisers of the African-American target channel, which is backed by athlete/entrepreneur Magic Johnson. 

As a startup channel, Aspire will give major advertisers some big real estate. Both Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart will get exclusive sponsorship in their respective categories and have a strong hand in developing programming for the network.

These two major marketers join three other major marketers -- via media agency Interpublic Group's Universal McCann -- the Chrysler Group, L'Oreal USA and Nationwide Insurance -- which announced their deals in April, also gaining category exclusivity pacts.

Aspire, which will launch at the end of June, is one of four channels owned by minorities that Comcast agreed to distribute on its cable systems. It is part of the agreement with the federal government that help Comcast acquire a majority stake in NBC Universal.

Other Comcast niche networks to start include: El Rey, from director Robert Rodriguez; Revolt, a music channel from Sean "Puffy" Combs; and BabyFirst Americas, a channel whose subject matter will revolve around child development of young Latinos.

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