In another move to become profitable, yesterday Time Inc. [NYSE: TIME] launched its second over-the-top video on demand subscription service, Sports Illustrated TV (SI TV). It joins People TV in the company's foray into the streaming video on demand marketplace. Priced at $4.99 a month after a 7-day free trial, viewers can subscriber to SI TV via Amazon Channels or through the Prime Video app on TVs, streaming media players, devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stock and Fire tablets.
According to Variety, SI TV has 130 hours of licensed content, including sports movies, documentaries and TV shows, as well as original programs and talk shows. Unlike other sports channels or programs, SI TV will not have live broadcasts of games or a highlights show. Here is a sampling of content planned for the new subscription VOD service:
- SI Originals: The Crossover, The MMQB with Peter King, Planet Futbol, The Vault and SI Under the Cover
- Movies including the Kickboxer and Rocky franchises, Ladybugs, North Dallas Forty, TeenWolf and Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- Documentaries including The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, Strong Man, 2015-16 NBA Champions, Racing Dreams, Positive Vibration and The Roughnecks
- Exclusive access to LeBron James, Ricky Williams and Julio Jones
- Weekly studio shows with Peter King and Grant Wahl
- An SI Swimsuit Series to coincide with the launch of the annual SI swimsuit issue in February, as well as archived shows dating back to 1994
- Original documentaries by filmmakers Mike Tollin and Jonathan Hock to be aired in 2018
- SI Now, a daily show that airs on SI.com, featuring guests like Russell Wilson, John Cena, Kate Upton and Ice Cube
SI TV pitches its value proposition on the home page of its website:
‘SI TV is a streaming service for sports lovers who are tired of the noise. It's a place to go when they want to get back to the reasons they fell in love with sports,' the website reads. ‘SI TV will go beyond the game and explore the athletes, coaches, families, fashion, culture and lifestyle around sports.'
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‘SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TV is a new home for sports lovers who want to go beyond sports highlights and heated debates with distinctive, immersive and entertaining original programming curated through the trusted SPORTS ILLUSTRATED lens,' said Rich Battista, President and CEO of Time Inc., in a news release.
‘SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TV presents a broad slice of sports culture, complementing the pages of the magazine consumers have long loved. The brand's unmatched storytelling is now available to audiences in an unparalleled holistic way through print, online, and on television. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TV is premium viewing that will appeal to men and women of all ages, as well as families,' Battista added.
This is the latest in a series of moves by Time Inc. to cut $400 million from its annual budget. Part of those changes are likely to include the divestiture of magazine assets, such as Time Inc.'s UK division and a majority stake in Essence, Sunset, Coastal Living and Golf. Alongside those cost cutting measures, Time Inc. has launched a number of new initiatives including the launch of People TV, People Perks and PetHero membership programs, the launch of Time Inc. Latino, a digital platform to reach the U.S. Hispanic audience, and Food & Wine En Espanol.
Time Inc. is certainly taking some assertive action in both cutting costs and launching new products and services. Whether or not the company will be successful depends on how it implements these changes, particularly the launch of the new products and services. If they are properly tested and rolled our thoughtfully with time for tweaks and improvements, they could be successful.
That said, yesterday we wrote about several niche streaming video on demand services that have recently folded, SeeSo, Fullscreen and Comic-Con HQ. These services lasted 18 to 24 months, but couldn't compete with other players on the OTT industry or acquire or produce enough content to enjoy a competitive edge. SI TV's audience may be broad enough to attract a solid subscriber base if Time Inc. executives the new service well.