After being nominated for an Academy Award for Free Solo, a film about a man climbing El Capitan without equipment, Jimmy Chin’s next exploit will be serving as chief creative officer of Roam, described as a next-generation adventure network.
Chin will direct a team of adventurers who will create content for original mini-documentaries and series for Roam, which is backed by Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, SUSA, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo and Dick Parsons’ Imagination Capital.
Roam’s mobile-oriented content features stories of human endurance, innovative explorer engineering, athletic ability, and cultural curiosity often set in brilliant destinations. It is distributed among its community of younger viewers online and via social media. It has amassed more than 1.6 million fans, who have consumed more than 120,000 hours of video in 100 million views.
Roam could turn into more of a TV channel.
“We’ve become the most influential adventure community in the world by harnessing social media,” said Christopher Jerard, founder and CEO of Roam. “Next steps are to bring that onto Roam.TV and our O+O - to be the next Discovery Channel in a modern OTT manner.,”
Roam generates revenue with custom content and video ads for brands including Coors Light, DJI, Land Rover, National Geographic and Discovery Channel, which are attracted to Roam’s engaged audience.
Chin will focus on Roam’s programming efforts.
“Jimmy will help lead the creative vision and direction of the Roam content team as it expands its video offering of adventure content geared toward younger audiences and closely tied with the best athletes and creative storytellers from the adventure ecosystem,” said Jerard. “He will support a founding team of best-in-class athletes and artists who create content for Roam including Travis Rice, Ian Walsh, Chris Burkard, Sasha DiGiulian, Mike Horn, Cory Richards, Jeremy Jones, Renan Ozturk, Andy Best, Kelly and Juliet Starrett, Keith Ladzinski and Andy Mann.”.”
Chin is known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments. He began his professional career in 1999, and in 2002, he was the cinematographer for a high-profile National Geographic–sponsored trek across Tibet’s Chang Tang Plateau. In 2006, he was part of the first American team to ski off the summit of Mount Everest.
Chin answered some questions from B&C about his plans for Roam.
What is a next-generation adventure network?
We wanted to create a community of global fans of adventure where they could engage more deeply with the activities they love - or in some cases - aspire to. So, we created Roam. All of us who are doing adventures such as climbing, surfing, skiing, exploring wild places, we've been sharing our stories informally for a while now. With Roam we're organizing all of that and putting it straight into pockets of millions on their phones. This is clearly more intimate than ever before and more in-line with the mobile-first, social-first world we live in. Roam was co-founded by myself and the most influential creators and athletes in the world and we all know how to use social media and capture our adventures on the go. We collectively have 20,000,000 + followers on social media and are participating in some of the most widely recognized creative and athletic accomplishments in adventure and exploration.
What made you want to sign up?
Trust. Trust in the vision and my history with Founder Chris Jerard and his team. I trust my story, and the stories from our community, will be told with authenticity by Roam. Authenticity gets thrown around a lot but, in this case, I mean it. There are so many misperceptions and inaccuracies perpetuated when people from outside our respective worlds try to tell our stories. The stories at Roam are shared from the core community, from the athletes themselves and the best story tellers on the adventure world. That differentiates us. And the vision for helping the world re-define success and moving toward sustainability is worth supporting.
How are episodic series different from films?
Making a feature film like Free Solo is a multi-year endeavor. We're building it for the biggest screen possible with a big production crew. Film making like this has been a primary focus of mine and will continue to be. What we're building with Roam is a very different, more purposefully raw. This is “always on" episodic content for the newest generation “always on” audience. We produce stories that are mobile-first, then travel across lots of social media. I just read that millennials spend an average of 8.5 hours a day engaging with mobile content...ok so that is insane. But I'm traveling a lot right now, and I look around the airport, and as I look around in these public places, I'd say 80% of people are looking at their phones constantly. So for Roam, it's a huge opportunity to put inspiring, quality, authentic adventure stories in front of this audience. Maybe we can get more people to disconnect from their phones for a minute or two and actually go on an adventure.
Is there anything you’re especially looking forward to doing on Roam and could you have done anything similar as a film?
I'm looking forward to re-inventing adventure experiences with Roam. My purpose, as a story-teller, is the same no matter the medium. To share unique and inspiring stories that move audiences. And we can do that with Roam in a more raw and unfiltered way than with theatrical film. It's so important, especially in today's world, with all that threatens both art and our wild places. Imagine an authentic story, wrapped in an interactive conversation, straight from the "field of play." Look at what Derek Jeter did with The Player's Tribune. We're doing that, conversations with the athletes and explorers, from the middle of Antarctica, the side of El Capitan in Yosemite. We're going with Cory Richards to the top of Everest, via a new route, in April. All told by the athlete or creator from the field. That's what we are doing with Roam. We can do this in real-time. We can do this raw and unfiltered. It's exciting to be a part of it.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.