VideoInk has recently learned that Scripps Networks Interactive is readying a new Hulu-like video portal called ulive.com, which will house the company’s existing IP library like Travel Channel, Food Channel, and HGTV.
ULive.com will also develop and release original programming spanning five categories: travel, home, food, parenting, and wellness, according to multiple sources close to the product and content development.
The media company is said to be actively fielding pitches for content and already in development or production on many shows.
The product development team is currently at work building the site in preparation for a June 2013 soft launch, which we’re told will be teased at Scripps’ upfront presentation in New York tomorrow (April 23).
So what kind of content can we specifically expect to view on ulive.com?
Word is that Scripps is searching for “digital native” content creators who have already demonstrated the ability to succeed online. Whether that’s via an established web series or a massive Twitter following, Scripps is targeting personalities with an authentic voice, credibility in their field and the ability to generate content with high entertainment value as well as a strong “helpful takeaway.”
Judging by their existing catalog of TV programming, we expect ulive.com will be strong in the parenting, health and wellness categories, which are very female-friendly verticals — as opposed to Travel Channel, which skews marginally more male.
We’ll be interested to see if Scripps’ online travel content can find an audience and if they will program female-centric shows to take a stronghold on the demographic.
VideoInk has heard that the ulive.com platform will follow an ad-supported model but hasn’t gotten confirmation on whether the company will sell against verticals or by audiences. No word on if any brands have signed on as launch sponsors.
Scripps isn’t exactly new to digital video or original online programming.
Last October, Food Network launched “Road to Redemption,” a web-based preview/companion to a new season of “The Next Iron Chef” reality franchise. Fellow Scripps property, Cooking Channel, has also taken a stab at food-centric online programming with two seasons of “Fodder,” a sketch comedy series about pretty much all things food.
As the Newfronts aim to hit the billion-dollar mark on deals this year, we’ll be keeping our ears peeled for more about how Scripps nails down buyers against this new platform.
Scripps PR declined comment.