Another nontraditional channel with an innovative originals strategy is SVOD service Acorn TV, which brings an Anglophile’s cornucopia of programs to subscribers for $4.99 a month. The service is built on licensed British programming that otherwise does not air in the U.S. But Acorn is getting more into coproductions.
“When you get involved earlier in the development process, you have a better chance of securing that program for our audience,” said Mark Stevens, Acorn TV president.
Acorn is part of RLJ Entertainment, owned by BET founder Bob Johnson. Originals include Agatha Raisin, which debuted in August and features a mix of comedy and mystery. Fall launches include the Cold War drama Close to the Enemy, which launches in late November after its debut on the BBC, and crime drama The Level, a venture between Acorn and ITV that premieres Dec. 5.
Described as a “niche service” by Stevens, Acorn doubled its subscriber roll to north of 320,000 in the past year. With its average viewer age over 50, Acorn isn’t a typical cord-cutter play. “They have more time on their hands to consume this kind of content,” Stevens says, “and are fairly active online.”