It seems in today's modern age cameras are everywhere. And while that may be becoming increasingly more true I'd wager for every camera there's twice as many screens. Monitors, screens, displays are everywhere we go. Once, at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, I was told that you are never more than three feet from a spider no matter where you are; well, in today's world the same probably applies for a monitor or screen of some kind.
Think about it: Grocery stores have monitors on many aisles, near products, at the checkout; gas stations have them while you pump; hotels have them from the moment you walk in and the rest of the way through, some even in the elevators; and don't even think about airports, the various stores and cafes in them. And that just scratches the surface. Monitors, displays, ways to consume content are everywhere from the palm of our hands to the backs of our seats at 35,000 feet.
But most stand alone, like little content beacons, loaded with ads but with no uniformity of content, of continuity and certainly no programming overly specific for the audience that passes them (outside of shots of menu items or short infomercials at the checkout).
Ron Bloom and Lynwood Bibbens are looking to change that with the formation of Pervasive TV and the company's network, ReachMeTV. Bloom, a television and music industry veteran, has been excited about the possibilities for content and networking technology has presented to the entertainment industry for some time. He founded BiteSizeTV in flashy studios in the W Hotel on Hollywood Blvd, in Hollywood, CA, with the intention of creating programming specifically for consumption in, well, smaller bites.
"Networks, traditional networks and programming have been tied to the :30 or :60 minute format for, well, since the inception," Bloom told me as we sat down to talk for my daily Karel Cast. "I knew there was a market for truly original programming of different lengths, innovative, fresh programming that redefined what episodic television or content could look like. But I knew we would need a new type of network to make it work!" he stated. "So we built it!" he added.
One of his projects, Hollywood Today Live, went on to a major, with FoxTV signing, and now renewing, the show. "That show was truly born digitally," the proud father Bloom went on. "And we were able to expand it out in a way that remained organic," he continued.
Bloom made BiteSizeTV such a viable concept and entity that he was able to orchestrate a sale to Lin Media. Lin would go on to merge with Media General (NYSE: MEG), a publicly traded, multi-billion dollar company.
But Bloom wasn't ready to rest on his laurels. Instead, he took the BiteSizeTV notion of content, great content, in new, original formats and times, and thought, this could comprise a network itself, a real network. But where? Well, since most people spend 75% of their time out of the home, he knew the answer wasn't the traditional model of Cable TV channel to reach a static monitor and then an app that is simply a mirror of the network.
"Once you look around, you see that there are many, many ways to reach an audience, millions of portals, that sit, unconnected by any network, by any unity or continuity of programming, and that led me to partnering with Lynnwood and forming PervasiveTV," Bloom stated. "The potential is staggering. The entire model of TV and TV networks is to capture people in their homes, their living rooms, taking for granted they'd just be sitting there waiting for it. Well, today, they're not. They are mobile. They are watching what they want, where they want, when they want. Smart Devices have freed entertainment, all forms of it, from the home and the rise of technology has put monitors and displays almost everywhere. We want to be the people that bring it all together, the out of home viewing, with a Network, with ReachMeTV, with an App that will let you take the programming with you, or better yet, have it find you," he added.
"Here's the beauty, we can have a network in a cloud, and that network can have playlists of programs of all lengths suited for any demographic need of the consumer, allowing us to provide programming for multiple markets and various applications," Bloom continued. "We can network thousands of screens in key markets in to one integrated content management and delivery system, all while being a full service entertainment provider," Bloom continued.
And the idea of sampling from this mobile network is intriguing. This means you could be at an airport, hotel, retail outlet and see a program or content you like, but don't have the time or ability to watch it then. Well, don't, simply launch the app, tag the program for later, and Viola! your content can follow you for when you're ready to view. Watching something in your hotel room? Transfer it to your tablet and off to the lobby. See something at the airport you wanted to explore more but couldn't watch? Finish it at the hotel.
"We have to remember, it's not the technology, it's the combination of programming and content," Bloom explained. "Les Moonves has this right with the way he manages CBS Programming both on air and in the app. Don't give away the store. Build something, give them a taste, and then let them explore a premium platform of established content, as well as new programming specifically for that platform. But great content. I think that's the model the industry will be turning to more and more," he added.
Will Bloom become the SkyNet of mobile viewing, controlling millions of monitors world wide one day?
"On the contrary, PervasiveTV will be a content provider and producer with ReachMeTV being the method of distribution. The consumers will target and pick their content, what they want, where they want from it. There's never been a chance for more shows, programs of all kind, more variety of content then now. And the viewer will have complete control over what, and when, they watch. Stores, hotels, airports, can develop basically playlists for what works for them and their community and customers."
Bloom has already changed the playing field with the success of BiteSizeTV, Hollywood Today Live and many other endeavors. Now he wants to basically disrupt the mobile viewing and advertising process all together by providing an actual network and unifying screens, providing the viewer continuity through apps and other linked screens. He's taking a totally ignored viewing space, far more prevalent that the living room tv, and giving it credibility and content.
It's an ambitious endeavor to launch, one that will change the way content is delivered and the actual content seen on millions of screens small and large. Will it work? In the era of Spotify, Pandora, of TV Networks that are nothing more than Apps for Roku or AppleTV, when YouTube videos get more views than any network show and content is becoming available almost everywhere, it would appear the market is crying out for someone to unify and deliver content to this yet non-networked string of screens.
Bloom and Bibbens seem to have come up with the winning formula to do just that with their ReachMeTV network on schedule to reach over 100 million viewers per month on the go, and finding its way into a million hotel rooms by the end of 2016,
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