Last month, longtime news anchor Jon Erlichman launched ParachuteTV, a television channel with scheduled programming that ranges from comedy showcases to cooking shows. What’s unusual is that the channel is not on broadcast TV, or even YouTube. It’s on live streaming app Periscope.
With thousands of viewers tuning in per day, ParachuteTV has a larger audience than some cable channels. Viewership has increased by approximately 25 times since the channel launched, according to Erlichman. Its popularity suggests that eventually consumers might even pay to watch TV on Periscope rather than traditional living room sets.
This might seem like a dubious proposition, but L2 research shows millennials are in fact more willing to pay for movies and TV shows than other types of digital content. Nearly three in five millennials pay for digital movies and TV, according to L2’s media Intelligence Report. In contrast, barely 10% subscribe to digital newspapers and magazines – meaning that Periscope TV has more potential for monetization than most new digital publications.
And while TV on Periscope is new, the study makes clear that the millennial generation has been shifting gradually towards online entertainment. Non-millennials spend 59% of TV viewing time watching conventional broadcast TV, but only 41% of millennials do the same. Conversely, millennials watch nearly three times more online TV than other U.S. viewers.
As mobile devices replace living room sets, brands will need to learn how to replace conventional ads with promotional strategies on platforms like Periscope. Many have already experimented with their own channels, as well as influencer partnerships; ParachuteTV offers an alternative route. Yet Erlichman made clear that as for Netflix, with its aggressive pursuit of original content, entertainment comes before advertising.
“We’re not really looking to do sponsored shows,” he said. “We’re of the mindset that if content is good enough, brands will gravitate towards it – especially if a lot of people are watching.”