News

A Network That’s Ripe for Men

9/30/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Video-on-demand proponent Ripe Digital Entertainment will unveil later this month a new multiplatform service that could serve as the template for advertisers seeking to reach tech-savvy young men.

The Los Angeles-based company, which has been running mini-shows and segments on Comcast Corp.’s video-on-demand platform since July, will simultaneously offer up to 10 hours a month of free, short-form fare aimed at young men on cable, broadband and mobile-phone platforms, said Ripe CEO Ryan Magnussen.

Dubbed Ripe TV, the service — featuring action sports, animation and girls — has been airing three- to 15-minute-long shows on Comcast Corp.’s VOD service since July, generating an average of 1 million hits per month, Magnussen said.

Beginning on Oct. 28, that content will also be accessible to broadband users via its Web site (www.ripe.tv), from Akimbo Systems’s Internet-based VOD service, and through Java-supported wireless phones. Consumers with multimedia cell phones can download the short shows.

The network will embed advertiser brands and messages within its programming and charge a fee based solely on actual views from any of the platforms. Magnussen, who along with network president Patrick Bradley founded dot-com development company Zentropy in the late 1990s, said the service has already signed as many as five “blue-chip” sponsors for the service, but he would not identify them.

To aid its ambitious venture, Ripe last week received a $5 million investment from Hearst-Argyle Television. Hearst will strategically assist it with advertising, distribution and new market endeavors. Ripe TV will also benefit from a promotional assist in Hearst’s magazine titles, according to Ripe executives.

Magnussen said the network’s multimedia play will allow Ripe to reach 18-to-34-year-old men, a demographic that tends to be receptive to new technologies and is highly coveted by advertisers.

Ripe TV’s programming includes such titles as Bikini World; Kung Faux, featuring classic Kung Fu movies re-edited and re-dubbed; Anination, a bevy of comedic animation; No Limits, an action-sports magazine show; and Knuckleheads, a takeoff on MTV: Music Television’s stunt show Jackass.

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