The $9.95 a month service (with a 10-day free trial), kicks off tomorrow — and may be most noteworthy as the first of several planned specialty video offerings from Hearst Digital Studios. “The CosmoBody channel is part of a larger umbrella strategy around the Cosmo brand, and an excellent template for how Hearst Magazines and the Studios will work together going forward,” says Hearst Magazines President David Carey. Other SVOD ventures will come from within Hearst, and with outside partners, and are designed to be available to subscribers “on any platform or device, at any time, anywhere in the world,” says Hearst Digital’s Neeraj Khemlani, who’s also co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.
The former Yahoo News exec describes CosmoBody as a “Netflix for fitness and lifestyle content.” It will feature workout videos, dating advice, and food and fashion information. Programming will come from Mark Burnett’s VIMBY studios (a partnership with Hearst), and will be updated daily. CosmoBody will feature eight trainers ( Jennifer Johnson, Astrid Swan McGuire, Adam Rosante, Ary Nunez, Don Saladino, Tara Stiles, Katia Pryce, and Rique Uresti), and food blogger Camille Becerra. Programming titles include Wowza Wedding Body, Sexier by Saturday, and Revenge Body.
Hearst hopes to make CosmoBody available to TV streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV by mid-September.
Hearst has a lot riding on the initiative. The premium SVOD strategy sets the publisher apart from others that have tried to adapt to digital media by selling ads for text or a combination of text and video, or put their packages behind pay walls. Companies that produce lots of ad-supported videos often find it hard to attract enough viewers or advertisers to cover the costs. So all eyes will be on Hearst to see if it can win enough subscribers to make CosmoBody financially successful. WWE appears to have stumbled out of the gate with its subscription WWE Network, launched in February: Company shares fell 58.7% in Q2 on investor fears that it hasn’t met its subscriber goals.