The streaming-video gold rush continues apace this week, with the launch of three new niche services and tomorrow’s long-in-coming wide availability of Comcast’s Peacock service.
Two of the new niche services, in fact, will also be part of Peacock, which has been available for three months in soft launch to Comcast’s broadband and Flex customers.
The biggest question for Peacock is whether audiences have an appetite for yet another subscription service, given the many big ones already in the market. That’s likely is why NBCU executives are emphasizing Peacock’s free tier, with its 7,500 hours of ad-supported programming (pay $5 a month to get twice as much ad-supported content, or $10 to get it all ad free).
All the newcomers announced the past 24 hours will need to maintain a tight focus on a core audience if they want to compete in a crowded streaming sector, said Christopher Ambrozic, TiVo’s VP of Product, speaking during a Let’s DEW Lunch webinar on Monday.
“It’s going to be a battle for our eyeballs,” Ambrozic said. “The question is how do you stay relevant? Netflix has done this very well, keeping their content fresh. It’s going to be interesting to see how the others do this month over month.”
One of the new Peacock additions announced Monday is little surprise: Today All Day, a 24/7 channel based around NBC News powerhouse the Today show that will be available only on Peacock.
The service will provide, for those needing a Today show fix after 10 am weekdays, “24-hours of TODAY’s singular brand of lifestyle programming, including original video and digital series, as well as favorite TODAY segments,” according to a release.
It already had a significant digital presence: NBC’s release said Today content gets 70 million monthly video views from 50 million unique viewers on its website and elsewhere. The new streaming service joins several other digital offerings, including NBC News Now, NBC Stay Tuned, a Quibi newscast, and websites for NBC News and MSNBC.
Also arriving on Peacock and NBCU’s ad-supported streamer XUMO, as well as Vizio and Samsung connected TVs, is WeatherSpy. It’s the latest digital channel from online powerhouse Jukin Media, which already operates Fail Army, The Pet Collective and People Are Awesome on a wide variety of digital and streaming platforms.
WeatherSpy will try to appeal to a younger, more digitally savvy audience than the aching-knee crowd that habituates The Weather Channel and local broadcast news.
Instead, it will try to make weather-related content more “fun” for younger demographics that not incidentally are also deeply interested in climate change, travel, extreme sports and similar issues. Accordingly, a five-minute daily show on Snapchat is the next distribution priority.
“We just felt we could speak to a much younger audience around weather, Gen Z and Gen Y, and can provide them a better experience,” said Cameron Saless, Jukin’s Chief Business Officer. “We just see a wide-open opportunity here.”
WeatherSpy has been in soft launch for a couple of months, and will continue to roll out new material in coming weeks, particularly a data provider that can give a viewer location-specific weather information. Live weather updates will be provided four times an hour.
WeatherSpy’s initial 24-hour-a-day schedule will feature 13 series, led by Jukin’s own show ViralWild, which the company described as “where everyday explorers across the globe encounter the breathtaking, heart-stopping, and sometimes side-splitting creatures we share this planet with.”
Programming will include series about Alaskan bush pilots, outdoors people who survived life-threatening situations, wilderness rescue teams, survival science, storm chasers, famous historical weather disasters, wingsuit pilots, and big-wave surfers.
The third service to announce, on Monday, is still in progress. Channel operator Cinedigm, which also white-labels operations for other services, announced a partnership with Quincy Newell, a co-founder and former GM of Codeblack Films and CEO of TwentyOne14 Media. Together, they plan to launch a still-unnamed streaming network focused on programming for people of color by the first quarter of 2021
“We live in a truly multi-cultural world, that’s our reality,” said Newell. “My desire is to create a product and channel that reflects the world around us as it truly is. It looks like the world we truly live in.”
The service will feature what Cinedigm calls “urban multi-cultural entertainment and lifestyle” programming.
“The network will aspire to be a platform where African American, Latinx, indigenous, and Asian American artists, who are passionate about urban culture, can be their most authentic selves,” Cinedigm said in a release. “The network will aspire to be a platform where African American, Latinx, indigenous, and Asian American artists, who are passionate about urban culture, can be their most authentic selves. The channel will focus on a 21-45 adult multicultural audience.”
Newell said he’s holding off naming the channel as he looks for potential partnerships with appropriate media or other brands that aren’t yet in the streaming space, but should be.
“I’m trying to be a little more methodical with it in terms of brand and brand association,” said Newell. “We’re looking to partner with an existing brand that has yet to venture into the digital content space. Is there a brand that lives in a particular category that hasn’t morphed into the digital space yet in terms of digital content? I’m doing parallel tracks, trying to figure out what’s the best.”
While with Codeblack, Newell was involved in a series of films with prominent African-American creators such as Kevin Hart, T.D. Jakes, Shola Lynch, George Tillman Jr., Alicia Keys, as well as the Golden Globe-nominated Frankie & Alice and the Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez On Me.
Newell said he anticipates programming will be a mix of original programming and licensed shows from other libraries that are likely to be of interest to a tightly focused audience.The content will be ad-supported and free.