‘Social Change’ Cable Channel Targets ‘The Next Greatest Generation Of Viewers’

Just what America needs:  another cable channel.  This one greasing the skids for “social change” targeting “The Next Greatest Generation of viewers.”

NYT‘s Brian Stelter:  Participant Media, the production company behind films like “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Food, Inc.” and “Waiting for ‘Superman,” said on Monday that it planned to start a cable channel of its own by combining the assets of two obscure channels, The Documentary Channel and Halogen TV.

Participant said it was aiming to start the untitled channel in the summer of 2013. Evan Shapiro, a former president of IFC and the Sundance Channel, who joined the company last spring, will run the new channel.

“The goal of Participant is to tell stories that serve as catalysts for social change. With our television channel, we can bring those stories into the homes of our viewers every day,” said Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant.

Meghan McCain poses for Playboy.

“Participant” player Meghan McCain poses for Playboy.

The channel could be a destination for documentary films made by Participant and other producers. Participant said it would also have original programming. It named several people who are involved in making it, including Brian Graden, Brian Henson, Davis Guggenheim, Meghan McCain and Morgan Spurlock.

The channel will target viewers under the age of 35 — those, as Mr. Shapiro put in a news release Monday, that cable and satellite distributors are “most at risk of losing.” In other words: Participant might try to get the channel picked up by pitching it as a way for distributors to retain young subscribers. Distributors, however, are generally reluctant to carry new channels.

When it starts, the new channel will already reach 40 million homes, Participant estimated, thanks to the channels it is acquiring. The company said on Monday that it had completed a deal to acquire The Documentary Channel, which is available in about 25 million homes, and was working on a deal to take over Halogen TV’s channel position in about 15 million homes.

The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

CNBC's Nicole Lapin and Brian Stelter at "Page One" Premiere.

CNBC’s Nicole Lapin and Brian Stelter at “Page One” premiere. (Photo:  Nicole Lapin)

Among the many documentaries distributed by Participant was “Page One: Inside The New York Times,” a feature about The Times that was released last year. (Several reporters from the newspaper’s media desk, including the one writing this story, were featured in the film.)

Participant Media news release.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 6:29 AM


  • Sentinel

    Whew! I’ll bet the Playboy airbrushers went into massive overtime on that one.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      I suspect you’re right,

  • Sentinel

    Perhaps I should have waited a bit for my comments, but really – “The Next Greatest Generation”? If this is true, this nation is not only up Shit Creek without a paddle, but without a canoe because it’s been repossessed by the Chinese.

  • ZoneDaiatlas

    Basically its “Current TV 2?”

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

       Maybe Participant will buy Current.  I hear it is for sale.

  • Jimbotalk

    So–a cable channel aimed at causing social change, aimed at couch potatos under 35 who are looking for escapism…..?
    What am I missing here?

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      An AR-15 and the DSM-IV. …

    • Jimbotalk

      Maybe Santa will stuff my stocking.

  • John Cobb

    Marty, off topic, GE just warned, and blamed it on fiscal cliff concerns, how ironic is that.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      Ironic big time.

  • Geezer

    “How does John McCain’s daughter figure into this new liberal cable channel?”

    I’m guessing she figures large.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

       Very amusing, Geezer!  Thanks!