Hoping Affiliates Pivot to Standalone App

Millennial-targeted network Pivot is confident its recently released digital app will catch on with operators looking to reach both multiplatform cable subscribers and broadband-only subs.

The Pivot 2.0 app, which relaunched this past January after initially debuting alongside the 45 million-subscriber network in August, provides authenticated pay TV subscribers access on any device to the live stream of the network as well as to on-demand content.

The app also contains social media functionality, including a Twitter button that lets Pivot viewers sound off about the network’s shows and movies as they watch.

Pivot has also looked to draw interest in its shows though the app by offering premieres of original content including variety series HitRecord on TV through the app a week prior to the debut on the network.

“This is not meant to be a second-screen experience, but a primary-screen experience built around the viewership style of the audience that we talk to,” Pivot president Evan Shapiro said. “Television doesn’t mean a box and it doesn’t mean a website — television lives wherever television lives.”

While the app is currently available to Dish Network and DirecTV subscribers, Shapiro said he thinks Pivot will sign up other multichannel-video distributors by the end of the year. He also recommends that operators launch the app to their broadband- only subscribers, which are something far different from “cord cutters” even if they elect not to buy a multichannel-video package. About 11 million Americans ages 18 to 34 are in the broadband-only category, he said, and pay-TV distributors are also the biggest broadband providers.

“The issue with TV is the cable industry isn’t paying enough attention to the broadband-only community; they’re not building a product that’s for them,” Shapiro said. “They’re letting other people do that for them, and it’s time for the television business to capture that disruption and really go after that audience.”

He pointed to Dish Network’s plans to create an IPTV offering as part of its new carriage agreement with The Walt Disney Co. (see Finance) as a signal that some multichannel video providers are looking to reach broadband-centric customers with quality programming.

“The hope is that we enable the app for authentication for a while, but eventually MVPDs will take the app and distribute it to their broadband-only subscriber base,” he said, using the term for multichannel video programming distributors, meaning cable, satellite and telco providers.

“The MVPDs are really excited because it’s a new product offering, but they’re not in that business yet. We think that is one of the futures of television, and that’s why we’re investing so heavily into it.”

Shapiro said a vibrant and viable digital presence is imperative for any network looking to reach millennials. But he said the Participant Mediaowned network is not considering launching an over-the-top subscription-based service, a la the WWE Network that launched last month.

“I think the future of the television industry is built through MVPDs, not around them,” he said. “They are the people who put the money into the infrastructure and they are the utility through which all video will be viewed through. We believe in traditional television and we also believe in a broadband-only service, which is why we’re building both businesses.”


Pivot’s new “Pivot 2.0” app aims to draw attention from broadband-only subscribers as well as those who purchase the linear network.

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.