-50 Original Series Now Available on www.Ulive.com
-And a Large Investment in YouTube Channel Tastemade
Significance: More convergence between pay TV content owners and the digital video space. Scripps Networks joins Discovery Communications, Disney and others in launching and investing in online video networks independent of the pay TV ecosystem.
Scripps Networks is doubling down on online video this year. The pay TV content owner, which owns channels HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel and DIY Network, is planning to launch 150 original Web series in 2014; some of that content will go to related pay TV channel sites, and the rest will be created specifically for its recently launched online video platform called Ulive, which doesn’t require a pay TV subscription.
Scripps is leveraging its TV brands and personality celebrities online. The Web series are hosted by fan-loved TV series hosts and online blogger celebrities: for example former rapper Vanilla Ice, who hosts a home renovation show called “The Vanilla Ice Project,” will host a new series online called “Ice Goes Digital.”
New series this year include “Dead Buddha” with comedian Carey Reilly, created by digital content studio Magnet Media Originals; “Like a Vegan,” a cooking show hosted by lifelong vegan Ayinde Howell; “NonStop,” a travel series hosted by TV and film writer Jessica Bendinger; “Foods for Dudes,” hosted by HGTV personalities Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri.
For its pay TV channels, Scripps announced nine new Web series for its Travel Channel, and four earlier series will return for new seasons. The content will be available on www.TravelChannel.com, which received 73 million visits last year.
“We’ve spent the last year building the Ulive Lifestyle Network and have chosen powerful partners to create the quality scale our advertisers need to amplify their brands,” Jeff Meyer, president of Ulive, said earlier this year about the new digital push. He said the quality of Scripps’ online content will match that of its programs on linear TV. “We’re distributing the same caliber of premium programming you see when you watch any of the Scripps Networks channels and delivering what online viewers really want.”
Ulive OTT Network, Now with More Web Content
Scripps announced 50 new and/or returning series for Ulive online video network, which Scripps launched in late 2013. Initially, the OTT site, www.ULive.com, offered curated video clips of Scripps’ pay TV programming, along with over 70 short-form original “lifestyle content” Web series with Scripps TV personalities. At first, the site seemed less like an “OTT play,” as some have referred to it, and more like a marketing tool that aimed to connect to fans of its TV shows and ultimately drive viewers back to the pay TV channels. Scripps is taking the online series more seriously now, and is treating the Website as a more significant form of brand extension.
Content falls into categories such as food, travel, parenting and lifestyle, and is ad-supported. The Web-exclusive content is still short form, and each video is under 10 minutes. The site also offers full episodes of some shows, such s “Chopped” and “House Hunters” for viewers to stream, without any pay TV credentials. The full episodes have pre-roll and mid-roll ads. It also offers clips of newer episodes of its TV shows.
Ulive has distribution partnerships with Yahoo, MSN and Twitter’s Amplify service, which enables Ulive publishers to push short clips of video content during live broadcasts of linear TV shows.
Scripps Joins Disney, DreamWorks in YouTube Investment
Scripps, like other pay TV media companies, is also branching out with its online video investments. Last week, Scripps led a $25 million investment round for Tastemade, a food-focused channel on YouTube. Julie Woo, SVP of corporate development at Scripps said the company is “taking more of a portfolio view in digital,” according to Stream Daily.
Scripps’ own Food Network Website offers cooking clips and recipes, but the company felt Tastemade’s content was distinct enough from Food Network to not offer any competition. Woo said Tastemade was an appealing opportunity for Scripps because its audience is understandably much younger than Food Network’s, or any of the other Scripps-owned pay TV channels.
Scripps is wise to target younger viewers online. If it can…
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