Time renamed its video streaming channel to PeopleTV from the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, or PEN for short. The company plans to spend more money on original content that’s produced in-house or with outside partners, Digiday reported.
The one-year-old channel plans fall and winter programming that includes “Shelf Life,” a book-discussion series hosted by Oprah’s Book Club special projects producer Jill Adams, and “Family Portrait,” a reality series that delves into the lives of American families. PeopleTV next year will air “Sizing Up the Dress,” a reality show about a Chicago store that sells wedding dresses for plus-size brides.
Since last year’s launch, Time’s People and Entertainment Weekly magazines produced most of the content. PeopleTV has five to seven hours a week of original shows, including the daily morning talk show “People Now,” a weekly series of celebrity interviews with editorial director Jess Cagle and a TV nostalgia series called “EW Cast Reunions” that gathers stars from old shows.
People magazine for years has reigned as the most profitable magazine in the U.S. with strong circulation and the ability to charge a premium price for an annual subscription — unlike many magazines that almost give away print subscriptions to bring up their rate bases for advertisers. As the strongest brand in Time Inc.’s stable of media properties, some might argue People should have had its moniker on the streaming video service since last year’s launch.
The ad-supported streaming channel also shows the growing importance of video content for traditional print media companies in order to appeal to brand advertisers. MTV News, Vice Media and Vocative are among the media companies that have reworked their content offerings away from text and more toward video. Facebook’s need for more video content is driving the shift, Quartz reported.
Time’s biggest challenge is developing a streaming media channel from scratch, especially as the market grows more crowded with services from media giants like Time Warner and Disney and from tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Snap and Twitter. But Time Inc. has a rich library of content and a seasoned group of editors and reporters to create original content. The company has had more than 100 million video views so far in 2017 among mobile and connected TV apps, while consumers have downloaded Time Inc.’s apps more than 2 million times, Digiday reported.