When MTV parent company Warner Communications launched VH1 in 1985, it used MTV's huge library of music videos to create a compelling channel that still resides on everyone's cable dial. MTV was both a resource and a marketing tool.
Fast-forward three decades and Discovery Communications is using Discovery Network in the same way, save one thing — it's putting VH1 online.
Discovery and its online video subsidiary Revision3 on Thursday launched Testube, a new online video network that mixes Discovery's vast archives with Revision3’s younger, digital-savvy audience.
Discovery bought Revision3 last May to jump firmly into the burgeoning industry of online video, acquiring the expertise and reach of one of the bigger networks around. Those ambitions are manifest in this channel, which the two parties have been talking about since the acquisition.
"As we came into Discovery, they said ‘we’ve got 30 years of video, a whole catalog, a huge library of beautiful video,” CEO Jim Louderback told TheWrap. "If you were going to launch the Discovery network 30 years later as a web video property, it would be TestTube.”
TestTube debuts with 15 short-forms series that will be available at TestTube.com, Revision3’s mobile apps, YouTube and Xbox. Those shows include "Nature Hates You,” a series about how natural creations like rain and ants can screw with your life, and "Stuff of Genius,” which tells the story of everyday inventions.
"Discovery is in the business of igniting curiosity – from on-air to on-line – and for all types of audiences,” JB Perrette, chief digital officer at Discovery Communications, said in a statement. "This is another step in our mission to be the #1 nonfiction video and media company on all screens.”
Discovery will put its full marketing muscle behind the network, with promotional campaigns on networks like Discovery and Animal Planet. Louderbeck said that the network would fuse the smart Discovery brand, which makes videos full of awe and wonder, with the Revision3 ethos.
"The typical Discovery way to approach nature is Richard Attenborough,” Louderback said, launching into an impersonation. "We’ll use the same video, a beautiful nature video, but have some attitude and turn it on its head.”