By Sahil Patel
A couple of months after the ULive soft launch, Scripps Networks Interactive is finally ready to talk (publicly) about its online video portal. The media company is “officially” launching ULive today, armed with a bunch of original web series, full-episodes and clips from Scripps TV shows, and Ford Motors as launch partner.
As we first reported back in the spring, Ulive will offer lifestyle content from Scripps’ TV networks like HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, and Great American Country.
On top of that, ULive will be the home to roughly 70 new original web series featuring various personalities from Scripps’ TV programs as well as “digital natives” who have amassed a sizeable following online. Kicking off Scripps’ original programming initiative is Travel Channel “Trip Flip” host Bert Kreischer, who is debuting “What Will the Maid Think?,” a hotel room prank show. Food blogger and author Joy the Baker will also launch a show titled “Bonkers Awesome!,” which will discover new food, people, and places.
The Ford brand, for its part, will make brief cameos in no less than nine episodes. Ford’s assimilation into Scripps’ programming will showcase how the motor company is connecting to everyday people across the country.
Interestingly, Scripps is highlighting how ULive does not require users to have a pay-TV subscription to watch any of its content. While Scripps has already been offering TV Everywhere access to its TV shows, ULive will make some episodes and TV clips available for users to watch for free. According to the company, this is because ULive is meant not only for current viewers but new audiences as well. Scripps wants to “thoughtfully” curate lifestyle-oriented content that people want to watch. That’s harder to do if some of the content is restricted behind a paywall or requires users to authenticate their cable subscription.
While the main point is to drive viewers to ULive.com, Scripps also plans to syndicate some web series out to 40 other websites, according to The New York Times. The company will do this via a video syndication platform it bought last year called RealGravity.