| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Dec 17 Entertainment company
Participant Media, one of the backers of the hit historical
drama "Lincoln", will launch a cable TV network next summer with
programming that focuses on social issues of interest to the
millenials generation of teens and young adults.
The channel's original programming, films and documentaries
will be aimed at viewers age 18 to 34 in the large demographic
group known as millenials, Participant Media CEO Jim Berk said
in an interview on Monday.
Millenials are particularly interested in the type of
content that Participant produces about social issues, Berk
said. The studio's credits include the current release
"Lincoln", about President Abraham Lincoln's push to ban
slavery, last year's civil rights drama "The Help" and Al Gore
climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth".
Participant Media is creating the new network by purchasing
two existing cable channels, The Documentary Channel and Halogen
TV. After those networks are combined and rebranded, the new
channel will reach an estimated 40 million of the more than 100
million U.S. pay-TV subscribers.
The company, founded by billionaire and former eBay Inc
President Jeff Skoll with the aim of producing
entertaining content that inspires social change, interacts
regularly with more than 2.5 million people through social
media, local movie screenings and its Takepart.com website, Berk
The challenge for Participant will be to sign up additional
pay-TV distributors and win viewership in a crowded media
landscape. The company is privately held and is not part of a
large media conglomerate.
"We have the funding necessary to take a very long-term
view, and to spend what we need to spend in terms of
programming," Berk said.
The mainstay of the network's lineup will be original
programming from a variety of genres, said Evan Shapiro, a
Participant executive who will run the new network.
The company is developing programming with established
Hollywood names including former MTV President Brian Graden,
"Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim and documentary
filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.
Participant also hopes to work with pay-TV distributors to
make the channel's content available on mobile devices such as
smartphones and tablets, to meet the viewing patterns of younger
audiences, Shapiro said.