Participant Media To Launch Millennial-Targeted Network

Millennials will have a channel of their own as entertainment company Participant Media announced Monday it will launch a new cable service targeted to 18-34 year olds.

Former IFC president Evan Shapiro (pictured, l., with Participant CEO Jim Berk) has been tapped to helm the as-yet-unnamed network, which expects to launch in front of 40 million households, according to company officials. Participant, which is behind such projects as An Inconvenient Truth, The Help and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, has purchased the The Documentary Channel and has entered into an agreement to acquire the distribution assets of Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks, although the network would not disclose financial terms of the deals.

The network would compete directly with networks such as ABC Family and MTV for the emerging millennial viewer with programming that “tell stories that serve as catalysts for social change,” according to Participant chairman and Founder Jeff Skoll. The network lists as part of its production team such creative talent as former MTV executive Brian Graden; The Jim Henson Company’s Brian Henson;Oscar winning director Davis Guggenheim and producer Morgan Spurlock.

“Our content will be specifically designed for the viewers that the pay TV eco-system is most at risk of losing," Shapiro said in a release. “We all know that Millennials are changing how media is consumed. Our research shows that there is a whitespace in the television landscape and we believe that a destination for ‘the next greatest generation’ will be a win for our affiliate partners, advertisers and the creative community.” 

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.