Revered Marijuana Magazine’s Parent Launches Over-the-Top Video Available on Roku, Apple TV
The parent of High Times magazine will soon announce the formal launch of a streaming-video product dedicated to marijuana, delivering a Netflix-like format to a growing audience of enthusiasts, the company has told IPO Edge exclusively.
The channel, called High Times TV (HTTV), will feature a curated selection of entertainment and information that may be hard to find in other places such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google’s YouTube where it has been censored. HTTV, which is now live on tv.hightimes.com along with iOS, Apple TV, Android and Roku, will generate revenue from advertising.
The announcement comes as Hightimes Holding is raising up to $50 million in a Regulation A+ IPO open to any investors. Until current management took over, the company had neglected to pursue a serious digital strategy; the over-the-top streaming service reflects a new push to monetize the High Times brand – the strongest in the marijuana industry.
“While High Times has built a powerful subscriber base across print, digital and social media, it’s not enough to just produce content for those platforms,” High Times CEO Adam Levin said. “The huge demand for mobile-friendly premium video includes a real hunger for the cannabis-related content that social-media sites are all too often blocking. High Times’ new channel intends to satisfy that hunger, ensuring that we can reach our loyal audience wherever they may be, on whatever platform they use. It’s another way to serve our fans.”
The launch of HTTV follows other media companies that have tried to create video properties out of existing brands. Those that have gone to so-called linear television such as a traditional cable networks have had their share of problems in the last few years. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network struggled to attract viewers and advertisers while more recently Vice Media’s Viceland cable network was to blame for disappointing revenue at the parent company in 2017.
Part of the problem with Viceland, in particular, is that it has a millennial audience but chose linear cable as a distribution format. High Times probably made the better choice by creating an over-the-top product, according to an industry executive interviewed by IPO Edge.
“Being targeted and specific within your specific economic parameters is the key if you’re just now getting into the OTT game,” the executive said. “They are a recognizable brand…but instead of being on cable, be streaming where that audience is most likely going to find it.”
High Times also appears to be taking a page from the playbook of magazine powerhouse Hearst. Long known for a dedication to print assets, Hearst has developed streaming applications for its flagship publications such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Indeed, such brand names jump out from the hodgepodge of unknown streaming channels available in, say, the lifestyle section on Roku. The same goes for marijuana-focused channels: a quick look through the menu reveals channels such as Stonerr TV and Blunt Nation TV which are both unrecognizable compared with High Times, which commands a presence.
Rather than charge a subscription fee, HTTV has partnered with Unreel, which connects to digital ad networks such as Roku and Google Ad Manager to drive revenue.
HTTV’s content will include cultivation and extraction lessons, comedy shorts, behind-the-scenes exclusives from High Times’ Cannabis Cup events, and vlogs from industry influencer. Talent already on the roster includes CustomGrow420, StrainCentral, Ruffhouse Studios, High Rise TV, Stoner Mom, The Green Market Report and That High Couple.