Refinery29, the digital media company aimed at young women, unveiled a slate of new programming at its NewFronts presentation Wednesday in New York. With the theme “Our Party Is Women,” the company announced projects with Willow Smith, Zosia Mamet, Rashida Jones, Chloe x Halle, Evan Rachel Wood and her band Rebel and a Basketcase, and Sasheer Zamata.
The company’s programming strategy is structured around three categories: Long-form content; new, expanded channels and returning franchises; and live events.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment for Refinery29 as today, our 12-year old brand has more purpose and meaning than ever before,” said Philippe von Borries, co-founder and co-CEO of Refinery29. “By leading with an optimistic voice and working with brands that stand by our mission, we have built an inclusive community that strives to inspire and service women globally. This year, we’re committed to expanding our reach in new ways by building a world-wide video business, creating
global events and strengthening our television production arm.”
Genres for the new programming for 2017 will range from comedy to music, style and beauty, to global social issues. Content will be distributed across Refinery29’ network of social and long-form distribution partners, which reaches a global footprint of more than 500 million, according to the company.
“I am privileged to commission, create and broadcast purposeful content that tells the many stories of female power and potential,” says Amy Emmerich, chief content officer of Refinery29. “This year demonstrates that these critical representations of women are not only what the audience craves but also what they demand, and that servicing them is also good business. We are hitting new levels of brand recall with our audience, and our programming slate embodies this enduring commitment to our mission of putting all women first. Put simply, this isn’t a time for business as usual—the audience expects more from us, and this slate, which offers experiences as well as focused category launches, delivers.”
Refinery29’s 2017 programming slate includes:
Long-form scripted and unscripted content from R29 Originals and premier partners:
Fabled: A modern fairytale anthology series, executive produced by Zosia Mamet and Evan Jonigkeit, pays homage to the classic fairytale, filtered through the lens of heightened alternative realities. Upending the traditional fairytale structure that has long been infused with patriarchal gender norms.
Girly: Developed in collaboration with the Academy-Award-winning team Fictionless Films (Born Into Brothels) and Executive Producer Rashida Jones (Hot Girls Wanted), a docu-series following global change agents — girls who refuse to stand on the sidelines as they redefine what it means to stand up, speak out, and be trailblazers within their communities. Additionally, Girl Up and the United Nations Foundation are partners to help power the social impact campaign.
I’m an Anomaly: A long-form docu-series from R29 Originals that celebrates and explores anomalies, an abnormality, or a blip on the screen of life that doesn’t fit with the rest of the pattern. The women featured prove there are no rules, no prescriptions, and no limits on who you can be and what you can do.
New and expanded franchises and returning series:
RSVP: A new content brand launch that serves up a new go-to-guide for all things food, drink, and home. Based on the runaway success of R29’s beauty video series, Short Cuts, which today has eclipsed 500 million views, RSVP will feature snackable, aesthetically addictive tips and tools that break down the art of everyday living.
The Mention: This content brand upends the predictable mainstream celebrity coverage and offers a fresh and unfiltered celebration of entertainment subcultures. Featuring a plethora of R29 faces, The Mention will include a Facebook channel, newsletter, and weekly live video series, expanding way beyond just what celebs are wearing.
Strong Opinions Loosely Held: Following the success of the Top-10 iTunes podcast of the same name, R29 is expanding this brand to include a Facebook channel and Op-ed personal essay series penned by some of today’s most prolific female thought leaders. Created and hosted by Pop Culture Pirate, Elisa Kreisinger, Strong Opinions Loosely Held provides a female spin on pop culture and political issues, always showcasing the smartest side of what’s trending.
UnStyled Fashion Films: Based off the popular Instagram hashtag-turned-newsletter and podcast, Refinery29 will now debut UnStyled Fashion Films. Created by co-founder and Global EIC, Christene Barberich, this Instagram-first short film series will use hyper-elevated visuals and next-level styling to explore themes of confidence, perspective, and identity. Chloe x Halle, the newest stars to embody the spirit of #UnStyled, are the latest style pioneers slated to be featured in the franchise.
Beauty with Mi: This unscripted video series created by and starring Refinery29’s beauty writer, Mi-Anne Chan, chronicles the craziest trends, most cutting-edge treatments, and strangest cult obsessions in the beauty world. The Beauty with Mi series lives on R29’s YouTube and Snapchat Discover channels.
Power Faces: Based on the success of Short Cuts, this episodic series captures first-person narratives of real women who see make-up as their source of power, creating an intimate beauty portrait that redefines the term “signature look.”
60 Second Cities: The hugely popular insider’s guide to the must see cities you’ve never seen, consumed in just 60 seconds, returns for Season 2. Each episode takes the format of a hyper-shareable tour of a lesser-known travel destination that you need to know about now. Hosted by R29’s Fashion Editor At Large, Annie Georgia Greenberg, 60 Second Cities delivers the ultimate high-speed cheat-sheet for your next great getaway.
Try Living with Lucie: The second season of this unscripted video series follows Lucie Fink as she dives headfirst into social experiments, five days at a time. Lucie not only stars in this video series on Refinery29’s YouTube channel and Snapchat Discover Channel, but viewers can also find her living out her everyday adventures on Instagram stories.
The Drop: A new series that exclusively “drops” music videos from female artists to showcase their sounds and discover fresh new voices. The first video to premiere on The Drop comes courtesy of Evan Rachel Wood and her band, Rebel and a Basketcase, for their song Today, which they also performed LIVE at the NewFronts presentation.
Empathy Lab: The Empathy Lab is a series of live events, videos, and social interactions all created with the purpose of deriving data and insights that aim to drive social change. Since announcing The Empathy Lab at last year’s NewFronts, Refinery29 has been collaborating with Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, conducting a series of experiments to explore how to amplify empathetic understanding between people. The Lab examines and magnifies the role of empathy in our society by bringing together experts in the fields of social impact, media, and storytelling, to amplify personal connection and create a positive cultural shift.
RIOT Writer’s Lab: In partnership with TBS, Refinery29 is launching a two-day comedy lab in which six emerging female comedy creators will receive guidance from seasoned television writers & industry executives, including Sasheer Zamata.
Soundscape: From Executive Producer Willow Smith, this fashion-forward music video series pairs next-gen female filmmakers with rising musicians to produce one-of-a-kind visual mixtapes that upend stereotypes. The musicians will then take their videos on a nationwide tour that kicks off at the Los Angeles Music Video Festival this fall. Soundscape was Inspired by Dr. Stacy L. Smith’s groundbreaking research initiative at USC Annenberg, examining the inclusion of women in the artistic ranks and the business side of the music industry—the same methodology behind Refinery29’s successful ShatterBox Anthology, which was inspired by another research study from Dr. Smith highlighting that just 4.2% of the 100 top-grossing American films are made by female directors.
29Rooms LA: Back for its third year, and first time scaling to the West Coast, 29Rooms delivers an immersive live experience leading the way for a new type of social storytelling. As one of R29’s most successful IRL experiences (last year’s event reached one in two Instagram users globally and drove 250 million social interactions), 29Rooms continues to challenge the scope of live events all while connecting Refinery29’s audience with prestige brands. In addition to the new LA edition, R29 is in development on an augmented reality layer expanding 29Room’s digital footprint.