Better Life Is Seeking Carriage Fulfillment

A Minneapolis-based multimedia company hopes to help viewers improve their lives via a new linear/video-on-demand channel expected to launch sometime in 2005.

The independently owned Better Life Media Inc. will offer operators and direct-broadcast satellite providers original and acquired content focused on the multibillion dollar life-improvement industry, said company CEO Eric Worre. The network has already signed several of the top names in the field to help develop and contribute programming, including Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Stephen Covey, John Gray, Tom Peters and Gary Coxe.

The programming would not be tied to specific religious or political groups or “guru-like” in its content, he added. Rather, it would provide “pragmatic” information regarding personal development, family and relationships, health and wellness, personal finance and career and business.

Better Life will launch as an on-demand entry via hotel chain provider LodgeNet Entertainment Corp. next month, but Worre wants to offer it as a linear network/VOD service to operators in 2005. He would not reveal rate-card specifics, but said the channel would consider a no fee-based carriage deal for the first few years. Worre believes that the life-improvement category is an underserved genre on cable and has a huge and dedicated following that would merit standalone status. While other networks such as Wisdom Television and Fine Living offer self-improvement and spiritual guidance programming, Worre said Better Life will target more a mainstream audience.

“We have a massive and pre-existing audience that spends about $8 billion to $10 billion in the life-improvement market,” he said.

Worre said the company, which also expects to extend into the worlds of radio, publishing, merchandising, retail and live events, plans to develop broadband content.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.