When we started HWC 4 years ago this month, our intent was to deliver a cable television operation like none that existed at the time. Two years later, because of the changes in technology, and all those cord-cutters, we had to put an end to the old way of thinking (and the old HWC) and we had to re-emerge in the spirit of the new-new media, joining companies like WWE who had pivoted to the path of Over-the-Top distribution. Unlike WWE our plan was to use companies like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV, to put our content on the big screen (as opposed to just airing on your laptop, iPad or phone). We were not, of course, the only ones to think of using OTT companies like the ones mentioned to launch to the big screen. What we were however, was the first one to insist on doing it in a linear manner. And while people have wondered why that is such an important part of our strategy (after all, the internet mantra has been 'video-on-demand; when I want it, where I want it.'), a recent announcement by none other than Google has shown there is tremendous value and desire for online channels that mirror how traditional television is delivered.
We have always referred to the concept of HWC as a 'hybrid' operation. One part content, one part retail. (That's ignoring all the other stuff- the magazine, awards, conferences, conventions, publishing, live events, etc.) So to launch on the internet or on the OTT streaming boxes in the aforementioned Video-on-Demand format, means that consumers would be left to their own devices to click on whatever show happens to catch their fancy. Leaving aside the fact that all of our shows are proprietary and don't air elsewhere, a vast majority of our shows also tie into our shopping show, Marketplace. So when one of our exercise shows features a jump rope, we will promote the fact that that jump rope is available later that day for sale on Marketplace. And alternatively, during our Marketplace segments we will promote the fact that what we're showcasing on Marketplace will be used on our later shows, whether its cooking, exercise, talk, or otherwise. You can imagine the reign of confusion were we not to present our content in a linear flow that allowed all of that cross referencing and cross-promoting to make sense! This is not to say that our content will not ALSO be available on-demand, because it absolutely will, but it's critically important that our primary presentation be in the form of television as we know it today; a fluid stream with one show following another that we have queued up for the viewer.
So what, you might ask. So, the technology to do what was just described- take diverse programming and stream it all together seamlessly like a regular television channel, exists only within some very exclusive companies, and they're not giving it out at any cost. And so to overcome that obstacle we have been working on developing this technology on our own (with partners in New York and India) since the beginning of the year. And until Google's announcement this week, we didn't realize whether we were all alone in wanting to develop such technology as it relates to a fluid delivery of content. So while we're delighted to be very close to bringing you some great shows and some amazing products, we're also excited to unveil to you our brand-spanking new platform on which we will be serving it all up!