COMMENTARY | Capital New York is reporting that a company called Tapp is developing a number of digital, subscription paid video networks each based around a particular celebrity. First up will be “Rogue TV” starring Sarah Palin.
“The channel will be available through Tapp, the digital video service founded by former CNN chief Jon Klein and former NBC Universal entertainment executive Jeff Gaspin. Subscriptions will cost $10 per month.
“Rogue is expected to launch in April or May, and it would be one of the first of the digital channels offered by Tapp.
“Palin’s channel will feature video commentaries from the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, discussing current events and political issues.
“‘Think of it as a video version of her Facebook page,’ the source said.
“That said, Rogue is also expected to feature footage of Palin and her family in Alaska, much as the 2010 TLC reality series, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska,’ did. (TLC’s parent company, Discovery Communications, is an investor in Tapp.)
“It will also have advice and guidance from Palin, such as tips for parents and recipes. There are also tentative plans to have subscribers engage in regular video chats with Palin.”
The model appears to be to get someone in politics or the entertainment industry with proven popularity in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, build a network around them, and then rake in money from subscriptions. Both Netflix and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze have shown that the model can be made to be profitable. The key to this current venture is to continuously provide fresh, high quality content that will retain the interest of subscribers month after month to keep that money flowing.
Palin has already shown a mastery of social media. The merest post on her Facebook page tends to make world-wide news. This is something new, however. It elevates the power of social media from words with the occasional image and video to pure video. It is a TV network totally devoted to the life and career of a single human being.
Most observers will likely conclude that this means Palin has decided to become a media power and has foresworn elected politics. This is not necessarily so. One could see this type of arrangement being employed by any elected public official with enough popularity to provide a way to communicate directly with the voters. The operation could be subsidized by campaign contributions or could be a generator of campaign contributions. We have entered a brave new world of communications,