VH1 has launched its first TV Everywhere app, starting off on iOS devices and distribution in place with pay-TV operators that reach a combined 50 million subscribers.
The app offers access to a library of new and “retro” shows, a slate of short-form content tailored for the app, and a co-viewing/social networking “Connect” element that was originally offered on VH1’s Co-Star app. Updates of Co-Star app will be upgraded to the new, TV Everywhere-optimized version. From a visual perspective, the new app is a re-skinned version of MTV’s app for iOS, but features content and features unique to VH1.
To help drive usage of the new app early on, replays of CrazyS_xyCool: The TLC Story, a biopic slated to premiere on the flagship VH1 channel on Monday, October 21 at 9 p.m. ET, will be offered exclusively on the new TV Everywhere platform.
That strategy “shows the commitment VH1 has to this [app],” Kristin Frank, executive vice president of Connected Content for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo, said, noting that VH1 will likely follow that linear/TV Everywhere distribution model for more original programming.
The app will also usher the launch of VH1 Snack, billed as a unique “bit-sized, pop culture-infused” menu of “new-form” video. Early VH1 Snack titles include: I’m on the List (an animation series); Super Hand Models (a soap acted out on miniature sets by actual hands—a sample is embedded at the end of this story); and Rock Stories (Matt Pinfield’s “oral history of s_x, drugs and rock n roll”).
The app’s making its debut today, but it’s already achieved some early success with advertisers. “Everything is sold out, out of the gate,” Frank said.
Out of the chute, the following MVPDs are supporting the app’s authenticated component: AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems, DirecTV, EPB Fiber Optics, Hawaiian Telcom, RCN, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS.
Conspicuously absent on that list is Comcast, but VH1 is continuing conversations with other distributors and expects to have more on board later. But the initial slate of TV Everywhere partners gives the app “critical mass,” Frank said, noting that the app also features clips and other promotional material that’s available to anyone who uses the app, not just those who can get behind the authentication wall.
Looking ahead, VH1 expects to launch Android and Windows 8 versions sometime next year. VH1 will hold off adding access of its live linear stream “until there’s unified measurement across these platforms,” Franks said. "At this point, it’s additive to what’s on the TV screen.”