Film producer Participant Media is further expanding its TV footprint by launching of its own TV network. Participant has purchased the Documentary Channel, distributed on satcasters DirecTV and DISH, and has entered into an agreement to acquire the distribution assets of emerging cable network Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks. Participant will combine and rebrand the assets into a TV network targeting millennials that will launch in Summer 2013, reaching an estimated 40+ million subscribers on cable and satellite.
The new network will to carry Participant’s brand of socially relevant entertainment with a slate of original and acquired programming catering to adults 18-34. The company’s award-winning films conveying similar message include An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc., The Help, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and the upcoming Promised Land.
This past spring, Participant, founded by Jeff Skoll, made a big entrance into TV by launching a formal TV division and tapping IFC TV and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro to run it. Shapiro will now head the new network. Earlier this year, Participant also acquired a stake in Canada-based TV producer and distributor Cineflix Media. “The creation of this network is a natural evolution for Participant,” said Participant CEO Jim Berk. “After nearly a decade of telling compelling, entertaining stories on the big screen, a television channel allows us to build upon our existing film, digital and social action resources to create a continuing conversation with an audience that is interested in staying connected and engaged with the world around them.”
Participant is already developing programs for the new network with producer Brian Graden; The Jim Henson Company’s Brian Henson; An Inconvinient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim, columnist and blogger Meghan McCain; Morgan Spurlock; journalist and doc filmmaker Gotham Chopra; filmmaker and screenwriter Mary Harron; writer/director Timothy Scott Bogart, and Cineflix Media. “Our content will be specifically designed for the viewers that the pay TV eco-system is most at risk of losing,” Shapiro said. ” We all know that Millennials are changing how media is consumed. However, they also have the strong desire and inimitable capacity to help change the world. Our research shows that there is a whitespace in the television landscape and we believe that a destination for ‘the next greatest generation’ will be a win for our affiliate partners, advertisers and the creative community.”