The History Channel needed to get the attention of leading cable operators and convince them that it represented incremental opportunity. One of the keys to that was to communicate that it wouldn't just carry the same old same old history content (think marching WW II soldiers and endless replays of assassination videos).
CCM worked with the network for almost 2 years prior to its launch. A combination of direct marketing to major cable systems, advertising, sales tools, and large scale events, was executed to get attention and gain distribution.
The History channel launch was a "historic" success, cited in leading consumer and trade media as one of the most successful cable launches ever.