Just as Comedy Central broke down its digital and linear silos earlier this week, VH1 is getting deep into digital content, specifically on mobile. The new iOS app will be available today, with its initial content push centered around this weekend's TV movie, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.
But there's also a new content division being created to add content to this app, called VH1 Snack. Dan Sacher, svp of connected content for VH1, says that the itch you can scratch by flipping from network to network with your remote is harder to satisfy with a TV app, so short-form content is part of the plan. "There's no channel-surfing mechanism [that is] filling that need," Sacher said. "That's what these little pieces are for. We started with Behind the Music, and you know who really loves [that show] is these women who follow bands around the country." Accordingly, VH1 Snack has a show called "I'm on the List," a memoir-ish series about (and narrated by) groupies of all kinds—see above for more.
Programming digital as aggressively as a traditional network programs its linear channels has become a major priority at Viacom. "[The app will have] access to our current and retro shows; it'll have a rich library," said Kristin Frank, evp of connected content for the network. "We think it's really an additive experience to the linear screen—there are different programming opportunities that we'll be looking at." The app is authenticated, so its content will only be available to folks who are already paying for cable content, but the addition of digital shorts and the ability to, oh, say, watch Love & Hip Hop in bed on a Saturday morning (not that I've ever done that, of course), is now available to everybody with an iPad.
It's a good time for networks to diversify digitally—Netflix is encroaching on the linear space, and between that company, Hulu, and extremely simple piracy options, the choices for a viewer with an Internet connection have never been broader.