Time is giving its celeb and entertainment-filled streaming service a new name. Launched last year as the blandly and cumbersome “People/Entertainment Weekly Network,” the newly rebranded service is now being called just “PeopleTV.” Though Entertainment Weekly’s brand has been dropped from the name, Time asserts that EW will still “contribute significantly” to PeopleTV.
But Time decided to go with the simpler title to leverage the People name, it says, which it believes is more “recognizable” and “iconic.” That may or may not be true, but at least it’s a lot simpler to say.
The service itself isn’t changing, in terms of its focus. The ad-supported, over-the-top network will continue to stream both short and long-form programming focused on celebrity, pop culture, lifestyle and human interest stories.
Along with the rebrand, Time also announced a slate of new programming for the service, ahead of the upcoming Emmys, where PeopleTV will live stream from the red carpet (“People & Entertainment Weekly Emmys Red Carpet Live”). This event will also stream live to Twitter, as one of the social network’s now numerous live video deals.
In addition, PeopleTV is expanding its programming lineup with original shows, unscripted series, plus live shows and specials, Time says.
The new lineup includes a book club-like series called “Shelf Life,” from Jill Adams, Oprah’s Book Club and Special Projects Producer; “Family Portrait,” which focuses on the diversity of American families; animal stories in “Paws & Claws,” exclusive and new stories about Hollywood scandals in “Entertainment Weekly: Hollywood True Crime;” and the wedding-focused show “Sizing up the Dress.”
Current shows – including “The Jess Cagle Interview,” from People’s editor-in-chief; EW’s Cast Reunions (of which “Buffy” was the most-viewed to date); “Dirty Laundry” from InStyle’s editor-in-chief Laura Brown; and “Fan Forum LIVE: Survivor” – will also be returning in the 2017/2018 season.
PeopleTV is a smaller player in a crowded landscape for streaming services, but is finding some traction because of its free-to-watch format. Time claims its PeopleTV app has now been downloaded over 2 million times, and its videos have accumulated over 100 million views since launching in September, 2016, across all platforms.
The service is supported today on iOS and Android devices, as well as on streaming players and online services, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV/TV Stick, Chromecast, PlutoTV, Xfinity, and Xumo. Time is now talking to live TV streaming services, like Sling TV and DirecTV NOW, about getting added to their lineups as well.
The content on PeopleTV would work just as well on YouTube or other streaming services. But by being its own, standalone property, PeopleTV can sell the ad space itself and keep all the revenue. The service had been offering 60-second spots, airing every 8 minutes.
Much of the programming had been driven by Time’s publishers, who were already adding video to their stories as Time’s print business and its revenues continued to decline.
Video has been one of Time’s key focus areas in more recent months, and was one of the few teams, along with digital sales and product development, to receive increased staff in the wake of Time’s layoffs earlier this year. The company had in June cut its global staff by 300 employees, or about 4 percent of the workforce, as part of a restructuring plan, after ditching its plans to sell.