Exclusive: Titan Broadcast Partnering on Plum TVRich-people network seeking larger audience with aspirational shows, and Bert Ellis's broadcast know-how 10/11/2012 11:19:30 AM Eastern
Plum TV, the wealthy lifestyle TV network bought out of bankruptcy earlier this year, has partnered with Titan Broadcast Management and will run on the Titan TV stations. Plum, toning done its upper crust content to a more aspirational bent, has debuted on WMFP Boston and WTVE Philadelphia, which are owned by NRJ TV and managed by Titan, with more stations in the Titan system to follow, either as a primary or digital channel.
"They're the first two of many big cities we plan to add," said Morgan Hertzan, Plum TV co-president.
Hertzan and Joseph Varet, founders of the luxury media brand LXTV (now owned by NBCUniversal), acquired Plum out of bankruptcy court in March for $1.17 million, vowing to expand it "as a national lifestyle network while retaining its resort community programming and DNA," as Varet said at the time.
Varet and Hertzan are the primary owners, with Titan taking a minority stake. Titan, run by broadcast veteran Bert Ellis, operates 17 stations. "We will be a very, very, very strong partner," said Ellis.
Plum has also secured $4.4 million in financing from an array of venture funds.
Plum's new slogan is "Live the Good Life," as it seeks to both retain its elite viewership while reaching out to a broader swath of the population. Shows include Yoga With a View, hosted by Hilaria Baldwin, wife of actor Alec Baldwin, and real estate show Special Spaces.
"The resort markets are great to talk about," says Ellis, "but there's not enough eyeballs."
Plum's principals are also seeking to partner with stations outside the Titan group.
WMFP Boston has split with Me-TV to make room for Plum TV. Plum is something of a known quantity in DMA No. 7, with longtime carriage in Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Plum was hatched in 2004 by Tom Scott, the creator of the Nantucket Nectars beverage company.
WTVE Philadelphia runs Plum as a subchannel, with a mix of paid programming, religious shows and syndicated programs on the main channel. NRJ acquired the station earlier this year, and Titan manages it. Hertzan says he and Varet were eager to expand Plum into the broadcast space, and to align themselves with a seasoned broadcaster such as Ellis. "It's the rare opportunity to get one of the Bert Ellis's of the world to be a partner with us," he said.