Time Inc. has announced that it's launching PEN, an online video network serving clips and shows from People and Entertainment Weekly. The service is free, supported by advertising and will broadcast more than 300 hours of original programming in the first 12 months of operation. The rest of the on-demand schedule will be filled by an "extensive library" of on-demand clips from Time Inc's library of shows. PEN arrives tomorrow, September 13th, and will also syndicate shows from other Time Inc. properties, including Time and Sports Illustrated.
PEN is an abbreviation of the People / Entertainment Weekly Network and will basically translate the two's current video properties to this new network. Variety describes the business as an online-only equivalent to E!, where Time has cut out the cable middleman in favor of pushing its stuff straight to the consumer. As such, the platform will be available in browsers as well as on Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Xfinity.
PEN isn't striving to knock HBO and its kin off its perch, however, and will stick to low-budget reality-style programming. That includes talk shows, red carpet broadcasts and interview shows with actors and TV presenters. In the first week, viewers will be treated to shows such as an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, a documentary about Patrick Dempsey and EW Reunites the Cast of Friday Night Lights.
Variety's report about PEN breaks out the most interesting nugget about PEN's birth, which is that the service has around 12 employees. That's because most of the video shows are actually being created by the staffers at People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly. That way, there's little-to-no cost actually involved in starting the network because almost all of the assets are already created in house. Which reminds us a little bit of this: