The Five Spot: Lynnwood A. Bibbens
What are your favorite TV shows? Ballers, Billions, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Below Deck, Power.
Favorite apps? Yahoo Finance, Uber, Tidal, Instagram, text (I consider this an app).
Favorite podcasts?The Breakfast Club, tied with Bill Simmons
What books are on your nightstand?Camino Islandby John Grisham; Connected to Goodness by David Meltzer; The Bible
Memorable meal? Omar at Vaucluse in New York. Caviar, whole fish, drinks, Opus One wine, and it was my wife’s birthday.
If you’re watching TV at the airport, on a screen that you didn’t bring with you, odds are it’s CNN near a gate or ReachTV if you’re in a restaurant or store. The CEO of Reach TV is Lynnwood Bibbens, who owned and worked at several companies in the computer hardware space before launching this one, with media entrepreneur and chief creative officer Ron Bloom, in 2016. The ad-supported service — programmed like a TV network except with most shows only six to 10 minutes long — says it’s in 51 top airports in the U.S. and Canada and is relaunching into 1 million hotel rooms in August. Some shows are produced in the Reach Studios in Los Angeles. Some come from partnerships with outlets such as A+E Networks, Bloomberg, Hearst, Overtime, NBPA and Stadium, among many others. Bibbens spoke about the business with B&C content director Kent Gibbons.
What is Reach TV’s business model, and why airports? Our business model is to entertain travelers. Only positive content — to make the viewing experience laid back. The revenue model is mostly ad-supported. Airports came about because as you look at all the places in the world — we said how do we put our network where people already are? How do we go where the people are and then deliver them something unique? When you look at the airports, it’s the one place with a captive audience that’s predicted to double over the next 10 years.
What genres or shows do you see working best? Genres jump, right? Certain times of the year, especially now, there’s a partnership we did with DraftKings for fantasy sports. You find out that 83% of millennials that travel, they search for fantasy. That’s a popular show. And then of course there’s the food and destination kind of content, like we did a show co-produced with The Hollywood Reporter called Where Hollywood Eats. Extremely popular. And the great part about knowing our demographics and having audience data, we found out that we have the highest-indexing network of people that have second homes. So we co-produced a show with Ben Silverman and Howard Owens of Propagate and A+E Networks. They did a limited series [Working The Room] and we took those same three limited series and made them 12 on Reach TV.
Will Reach TV expand beyond airports and hotels? Yes, we will morph into the entertainment network for people on the go! The minute you leave your home, you must have your Reach TV.
Is there a key to success for short-form content? We believe so. The most important thing is, ‘Great stories.’ The second is something we built ReachTV around: ‘Content Is King, but Distribution Is Emperor.’ At ReachTV, we’re adding great stories to the one short-form linear TV network whose audience will double in the next 10 years as it has in the last 10 years.
Is audience measurement or attribution a problem? The great part about the airport is, if somebody ever questions the number of people, all you have to do is go to the next number, which is how much revenue they generate. Look at our airports that we’re in right now. They generate over $800 million a month just in the concessionaires. Our job is to entertain people so they can buy one more beer. One more beer for 50 million people. That’s a lot of money.
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