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Trio Puts Broadband Extras Online

Mar 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

In conjunction with its “Uncovered TV” theme month in March, popular arts channel Trio intends to launch TrioPlus, a new section of its Web site for broadband-exclusive content that isn’t likely to be seen on television.
The new broadband initiative, online at Triotv.com/plus starting March 1, is calculated to extend the Trio brand by offering exclusive online content and to reach viewers who don’t have Trio, which is now found in 20 million homes.
“TrioPlus is designed to drive broadband as a superior means of delivering online media, and most important, it is just a new way of conceiving of a cable channel where you can further [extend] the brand to consumers,” said network President Lauren Zalaznick. “If you consider Trio the channel like [a] DVD, TrioPlus is all the extra stuff.”
Trio test-drove its Web strategy last summer when it began offering programming outtakes and Web exclusives on its Web site. Now the initiative is expanding thanks to several exclusive content deals, including with Lions Gate Entertainment to stream short films and with CinemaNow to carry 49 episodes of “Mr. Bill.”
On March 8 the Web site will premiere the animated series “Princess,” created by “South Park” architects Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The series was commissioned by Shockwave.com but was never seen because of its controversial sexual content. The series is about a lap dog who observes the adult world.
Trio isn’t actively seeking advertising for the site but will make it available in the upfront as part of a broad opportunity for the “right kind of client,” Ms. Zalaznick said.
“The mandate is to broaden Trio’s marketing reach,” she said. “I want consumers to want my content. I need to get them my content by any means necessary, and to me this is just one more arm of modern culture.”
The number of registered users for the Web site is about 65,000, more than double what it was in June 2003. Hits in December 2003 rose to 2.5 million, up slightly from 2.2 million in June 2003 and 1 million in June 2002.
Other programmers are also embracing the notion of providing broadband-exclusive content. Scripps Networks recently began offering short-form programming specifically for broadband users on MSN and Comcast.net.