Time Inc. demonstrated its commitment to the digital video space in a big way at its NewFront presentation today in New York City.
The publishing giant announced plans for an ad-supported over-the-top (OTT) network from People and Entertainment Weekly (EW), revealed that it will be making its 133-year-old Life brand the centerpiece of the company’s virtual reality efforts, roll-out a partnership with recently-retired L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and previewed its all-video, mobile-first brand focusing on the “new famous.”
The OTT service, dubbed the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, will focus on long-form series covering celebrity, pop culture, lifestyle and human interest. It is scheduled to launch this fall across a multitude of digital platforms with more than 100 hours of original programming, including fresh daily content and a 50-hour video library.
Life VR, Time Inc.’s dedicated VR platform, is also scheduled to launch in the fall. It will feature immersive video covering such verticals as news, sports, celebrity, fashion, food, travel and finance, culled from the company’s 100 brands, including Time, People, EW and Sports Illustrated.
At an unspecified date later this year, Time Inc. will premiere its new digital media brand from People and Entertainment Weekly dedicated to the “new famous.” Created with millennials and teens in mind, the mobile-first video platform will cover the lives and work of digital talents on YouTube, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram and other social media platforms.
Programming announced included:
“Dear Basketball”: Sports Illustrated, NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s Kobe Studios and Believe Entertainment Group (“The LeBrons,” “Money Where Your Mouth Is”) team for an exclusive multi-platform development project devoted to the game that will include the world premiere of “Dear Basketball,” an animated short film by Disney vet Glen Keane debuting on SI.com. It will feature narration by Bryant and music by Oscar-winning composer John Williams (“Star Wars”). The partnership will also include a series of SI Films mini-documentaries that take viewers behind the scenes on the project.
“The Jess Cagle Interview”: People and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle goes deep with a long list of high-profile personalities, including Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa McCarthy, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Anderson Cooper (with his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt) and Chelsea Handler. The content will be delivered across multiple platforms, in both long-form and short, shareable clips.
“Southern in the City”: Southern Living editor-at-large and NBC News correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, a native of Texas, goes in search of southern traditions and personalities in New York and shares inspiring, heart-warming stories and southern specialties, including food, fashion, entertainment and décor.
Entertainment Weekly’s “Pop Docs”: Executive produced by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”), this long-form series will explore the surprising beginnings and unconventional paths of well-known show business figures. A co-production with Spurlock’s production company, Warrior Poets.
“The ESSENCE of America”: A multi-part series addressing topics that have a direct impact on the African-American community that aims to expose a broader audience to often-overlooked stories that deserve national attention. Each episode will tackle a specific area of interest in-depth and offer solutions.
“New Mom / New Style”: InStyle editor and expectant mother Kahlana Barfield Brown turns to celebrity moms for guidance on everything from how to function on two hours of sleep to whether or not she’ll be able to change diapers without cutting her trademark fingernails.
“Time Influencers”: Inspired by Time’s annual Time 100 franchise and event, which for one night brings together in one room the world’s most influential people from business, politics, culture, science and philanthropy, the series will feature conversations with global influencers sharing their histories, passions and hopes with one another and the viewer.
“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: Swim Unfiltered”: A behind-the-scenes, first-person look at the parties, grueling workouts, glamorous photo shoots and moments of self-reflection and determination experienced by the models in SI’s annual swimsuit issue over the course of the year. It will roll-out in in bi-monthly installments.
“Broke Gourmet with Gabi Moskowitz” (from HelloGiggles): Food blogger and chef Gabi Moskowitz of “The Brokeass Gourmet” cookbook takes over the kitchen with friends and celebs and demonstrates how to make gourmet meals on a budget, while also sharing witty cooking hacks for everything from “Break-Up Brownies” to “Hungry & Hangry Nachos.”
“American Lives” (from People and Time): A series featuring the in-depth stories of overlooked Americans all around us, from the cute coffee barista and the sad woman on the bus to the determined bicyclist on the sidewalk. Co-produced with Madica Productions and Boardwalk Pictures, producers of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.”
“DRIVE/TRAIN” (from The Drive): In this 12-episode series, motorsports writer and photographer Chris Cantle puts his own skin on the line, getting behind the steering wheel, handlebars or helm and challenging professional racers on their own turf.
“Today’s showcase represents Time Inc.’s ongoing momentum and unlimited potential,” said Rich Battista, president of the Time Inc. Entertainment & Sports Group and Video. “We have a collection of some of the world’s most popular media brands that appeal to millions and we can push them even further. We are going to apply the latest technology to deliver our wide-ranging premium video programming to consumers on their favorite platforms and channels. This will also present a significant opportunity for our advertising partners to work with us to leverage our scale and these platforms to connect with our engaged audiences.”
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