TV Guide Network Expands Web Content

Jan 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

TV Guide Network is expanding its broadband video slate this year and plans to acquire and develop original scripted series for the Web for the first time. The new initiative follows the cable channel’s successful Web video efforts last year, when it grew from 50,000 online video views in November 2006 to more than 3 million views in November 2007.
To capitalize on that momentum and grow its online advertising revenue, TV Guide has begun shooting a 12-episode original broadband series that will serve as a “bridge” between the first and second seasons of the network’s on-air reality series “Making News.” The online show will debut in May in advance of the June 2 on-air premiere to capture new broadband fans and to bring online viewers back to air, said Dmitri Ponomarev, VP of on-demand at the network.
Development executives at the network also have begun to reach out to production companies and Web video creators to craft online comedy series that spoof existing TV shows. The network would like to launch Web series in that vein later this year.
To date, TV Guide has produced original Web content that centers around TV, such as red-carpet shows or videos that celebrate a TV show. “We are ready to go to the next level. We are looking to do more episodic stuff for broadband,” Mr. Ponomarev said.
TV Guide wants its share of the online video ad market, which is expected to hit $1.4 billion in ad spend this year, according to eMarketer.
TV Guide Web advertisers have included Procter & Gamble and Kraft.
“We have included this in our upfront and advertisers are looking for a broadband component. You can’t really come to market without bringing broadband as part of the package,” Mr. Ponomarev said.
He declined to disclose costs of production, but said the network now has a budget to acquire and develop broadband projects. Some of that money will go to producing more news stories for the Web. He’s also looking for Web shows about fashion.
TV Guide content is distributed online through YouTube, Veoh, AOL Video, Comcast: The Fan, Hulu and TV Guide.com.

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