The 16.7 million-subscriber network, which gets most of its carriage through DirecTV, has been primarily a daytime network. It is also carried on a local East Coast network run by Comcast on a more limited airtime basis.
A Baltimore, Md-area retirement community developer, John Erickson, founded RLTV just over a year ago.
It's rare that new cable channels can be successful in a tougher TV environment full of ever-increasing multi-cable network companies. Even more mature--and larger, distributed--networks such as Oxygen and Hallmark have been positioning themselves to be sold or partnered with other larger TV network groups.
"We want to grow this quickly--either through traditional means or through other opportunities," says Barton. Executives there believe retirement is one of the few cable programming niches left to be conquered.
One of the challenges, says Barton, is convincing advertisers that 55 plus viewers can change their brand loyalties. For years, consumer researchers have said older consumers stay with brands for long periods of time and are unable to make changes--something few advertisers can bear.
"Everyone thinks about retirement," says Barton. "It's about what is the next phase of life."
To date, some of RLTV's bigger advertisers have been in the financial and pharmaceutical categories, such as Prudential Financial and Pfizer. Barton says his current sales focus is in categories such as pharmaceuticals, the travel industry, financial services, autos, and insurance, among others.
RLTV broadcasts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with all original shows--and unlike many cable networks of its size and larger, no infomercials.
One of its key programs is a daily new and informational show called "Daily Café," featuring former TV journalists Mary Alice Williams and Felicia Taylor. Former NBC newsman John Palmer hosts a four-times-a-week personal-finance show, "The Prudent Advisor."