By Andrea Morabito, [italic]Broadcasting & Cable[/italic], 03.27.2013
New York -- Participant Media on Wednesday announced the name of its upcoming cable network targeting millennials: pivot. The network, forged from Participant Media's purchase of The Documentary Channel and acquisition of the distribution assets of Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks, will launch in 40 million households on Aug. 1.
Network president Evan Shapiro announced the name at pivot's upfront presentation, and said it will target viewers ages 18-34, a segment of more than 85 million Americans. That age group represents 61% of the key adults 18-49 demo advertisers try to reach, and is one that is key for cable and satellite operators to retain against fears of cord-cutting.
In order to adapt to the young demo's changing technology habits, Pivot's linear feed and on-demand content will be available to pay-TV subscribers on any device, anywhere, through the Pivot app. In a cable first, Pivot will also offer a broadband-only subscription, providing live and on-demand access to its programming without a pay-TV package.
"This frees the television network to go with consumers wherever they go," Shapiro said.
Pivot will have more than 300 hours of original programming in its first year, picking up six series including scripted, reality and variety projects. They are the weeknightly talk show [italic]TakePart Live[/italic], a user-generated variety show hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt called [italic]HitRECord on TV![/italic], the hybrid docu-talk series [italic]Raising McCain with Meghan McCain[/italic], contemporary drama Will about a young William Shakespeare from [italic]Moulin Rouge[/italic] writer Craig Pearce, a Newark-based docu-soap about two unconventional families called [italic]Jersey Strong[/italic], and a 10-episode documentary series that will air in English on Pivot and in Spanish on Univision.
Pivot has also struck a partnership with [italic]Rolling Stone[/italic] for a multi-platform programming initiative exploring the millenial mind. The alliance will include a week of primetime and late night programming with appearances by the magazine's writers and editors, as well pivot executives and talent collaborating for three editorial specials in [italic]Rolling Stone[/italic] this fall.
Supplementing the original programming will be world premieres of documentary films from Participant's own film banner like [italic]Last Call at the Oasis[/italic] and [italic]A Place at the Table[/italic] and others Pivot picked up from the festival circuit like [italic]We are Legion[/italic] and [italic]Terms and Conditions[/italic]. The network has also acquired the NBC/DirecTV drama [italic]Friday Night Lights[/italic], which will air on Friday evenings, as well as the Canadian series [italic]Little Mosque on the Prairie[/italic] and sci-fi series [italic]Farscape[/italic].
Shapiro preached pivot's "double bottom line" of "social impact and commercial sustainability," with entertainment that inspires societal, industrial and generational change. In fact, he said pivot chose to hold its first upfront at the Museum of Arts and Design, a once-neglected site that was revitalized, as a "symbol for the type of change and renewal" the network wants to inspire.