News & Views

Turner Broadcasting System / Upwave

by Contagious Team

Broadcaster creates 'digital-first' health and fitness brand

US-based Turner Broadcasting System has created a health and lifestyle entertainment brand called Upwave. The property is launching online, via a dedicated website, YouTube channel and social networks, before appearing on satellite TV later in the year.

The site features a combination of short-form video and articles on exercise, healthy eating habits, motivation and relaxation. Users can personalise their experience by selecting from a list of interests (i.e. 'recharge' and 'nutrition'), and can also save favourite content into their 'collection' - making it easily accessible at a later date.

In December, a two-hour Upwave show will appear on the HLN news channel every Sunday, between 7pm and 9pm. 

Molly Battin, Turner's senior vice president and general manager of Upwave, told Variety that 'Leading with digital is the right place to start, to establish a brand and create a voice and group of expert talent to educate and bring consumers in.' 

Contagious Insight
There is an abundance of free health-related media online, but what separates Upwave is that it's seeking to be an entertainment brand first. It's aiming to draw people in with enjoyable and engaging content, then layer the practical, educational stuff on top of this. Indeed, Battin touched on this when she described the site as a 'Trojan Horse for health and wellness', and noted that the television show will 'help to flesh out the entertainment aspect' of the overall offering. 

It's also interesting to see Turner consciously creating a digital-first brand. By launching Upwave online, the programmer is hoping to build a strong, health-orientated community. This will help with viewing figures when the TV show airs in December, and crucially, should give Turner more bartering power when speaking to advertisers. 

The site itself is well organised and already stuffed full of content. Currently there are around 200 hours of videos spanning across the key categories. The 'collection' item is also a useful utility. It allows people to save recipes or routines for later and also supports offline viewing.