Fans of monster truck rallies and bikini clad hotties may join the executives at Hearst Television, Time Warner, and Comcast in shedding tears for Ripe Digital Entertainment. I’m hearing that the Hollywood-based production and ad sales firm has gone belly-up, another victim of the lousy ad market. So ends a much hyped effort beginning in 2005 to become the primo destination for horny and manly young guys on cable video-on-demand, mobile phones, and online.
Once upon a time, Ripe vowed to become the world’s first free ad-supported on-demand network. Comcast and Time Warner Cable gave Ripe coveted distribution to 40 million homes on their VOD platforms. And advertisers including Dodge, Cingular, and Procter & Gamble lent support to a lineup of barin-dead programming that included Stuff 4 Dudes, Girls of FHM, and Sexy Road Test. Hearst Television, Time Warner and investment firms Columbia Capital and Rho Ventures kicked in $32 million in 2006 for the second round of funding. But Ripe couldn’t make a go of it.