Call it a “joint venture,” even though there’s only one company involved.
BurnTV, a new cannabis-focused online network, is gearing up for its upcoming rollout and if its ratings are as high as its viewers, Netflix could face some blunt competition.
“We’re clearing up some of the bugs in the app and fine-tuning the data,” founder and CEO Jason Santos told TheWrap. “We’re hoping to launch sometime in October.
According the network, BurnTV will be delivering “broadcast-quality productions” that will target a “broader demographic” beyond just stoners.
“Most users don’t identify with the stoner lifestyle,” Santos said. “We wanted to create an entertainment destination that appealed to the those who are interested in cannabis in any way.”
Though you don’t have to be a pothead to watch, it’s highly recommended.
The company will initially offer mostly aggregated content. But according to Santos they already have a few original offerings loaded up and ready to go. One slated series called “My Life, My Story” centers around several protagonists, including a man battling muscular dystrophy and a marijuana business owner trying to figure out the complicated legal maze confronting the fledgling pot industry.
As more and more states legalize marijuana use across the U.S. and Canada, cannabis sales have grown by an unprecedented 30 percent in 2016 to $6.7 billion, according to recent report by Arcview Market Research.
Sales are projected to exceed $20 billion by 2021, assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent.
“Any category with 25 percent growth is going to find a way to be legitimate,” Chad Kawalec, CEO and founder of the Brand Identity Center and 420BIC, a full-service cannabis marketing agency, told TheWrap. “As pot becomes less stigmatized, advertisers and marketers will need a legitimate place to reach their customers.”
Hollywood has already gone to pot. From the syndication-darling “That ’70s Show” to “Family Guy” and “Workaholics,” plenty of TV hits have managed to make their way into stoners’ hearts. Adult Swim, the adult cartoon network, has delighted stoners for almost two decades. But, so far, few have overtly marketed themselves as a “stoner” platform or show.
“This category is starting to get dedicated content,” Kawalec said. “You’re starting to see things like MassRoots, a social network dedicated to stoners with close to a million users.”
More and more marijuana-centric storylines are popping up in TV and movies, including “Mary + Jane,” an MTV show following two friends in their quest to become L.A’s premier all-woman-run weed delivery company, and “Disjointed,” a Netflix pot dispensary comedy from hit-maker Chuck Lorre and starring Oscar-winner Kathy Bates.
Netflix even went as far as designing “The Netflix Collection,” which included 10 different strains on limited release at a West Hollywood pop-up event last month — each designed to be smoked while watching a Netflix show — according to Highsnobiety, an online publication covering marijuana trends.
All that, according to Santos, has created a window of opportunity for content creators looking to reach a wider ganja-loving audience.
“We have 42 million Americans who use cannabis regularly and 140 million Americans who have tried it at least once,” he noted. “The face of today’s cannabis user no longer fits the stereotype.”