Health-and-wellness network Veria Living has recruited a longtime cable network chief and rock-and-roll manager, Eric Sherman, to lead its efforts to gain distribution and advertising traction.
Sherman was a 20-year MTV Networks executive, overseeing such networks as VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and Palladia, before serving as president of Cablevision-owned Fuse TV. Most recently he was Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler’s manager, securing his deal to host American Idol and his pact to develop a clothing line with Tommy Hilfiger.
As CEO, he’ll oversee the Veria Web site and Veria Living Go app extension as well as the network, which claims to have grown distribution by 50% over the past 18 months but does not disclose subscriber figures. It’s carried by Cablevision Systems’ Optimum TV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS TV plus smaller multichannel affiliates and has broadcast carriage in markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego and Atlanta.
Veria’s biggest asset is support from its chairman, Subhash Chandra, the Indian billionaire and overseer of massive India-based media provider Zee Group, Sherman said. “This is an incredibly large player who has the willingness to put the resources behind this mission.”
The mission is holistic health, and Chandra has bankrolled Veria Living’s lineup of original programming on such topics as Bollywood dance workouts, healthy cooking and a new primetime talk show starring best-selling author Lisa Oz (wife of TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz).
Sherman said he also admired Veria Living’s clear-cut identity. “When we talk to consumers, this is content that they want to weave into their lives and they’ve been looking for that true home in media, and I think we occupy that unique space,” he said. The network also has begun a series of playful promotional ads, riffing off prescription drug commercials and using the tagline "You've Got Veria." As in, "If you're experiencing uncontrollable smiling, healthier eating habits, toned abs, and inner peace, there's a good chance that You've Got Veria!"
The New York-based CEO started at Veria last week and said one of his first acts was to sit in on programming focus groups. “I consider consumer research incredibly important,” he said. He also hopes to persuade advertisers of the network's utility in integrating product messaging into the programming.
“Eric’s experience launching and growing television and digital media brands is unquestioned, but it is his passion for his work, and his clear understanding of how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain a work/life balance, that makes him the ideal person to take on this role at Veria Living,” Chandra said in a statement.