This New Startup Will Keep You Entertained in the Airport for Hours
This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
If you've ever been to an airport, you've most likely spent some time very bored.
A familiar scene: You're through security and have nothing to do before your plane boards, except go to one of the overpriced restaurants, or bars, and watch a bunch of TVs showing sports. Or, instead, you can sit at your gate and watch the TVs hanging from the ceilings, which likely are only showing CNN.
ReachMe.TV thinks it's figured out how to make waiting at the airport more tolerable.
The startup is an in-airport mobile entertainment network that provides thousands of hours of content — including original programming, local news, sports, and weather — to the top 50 airports in the US and Canada (and 750,000 hotel rooms). But it's not just regular TV.
If you come across a ReachMe.TV screen at the airport, it could be playing anything from a brief recap of last night's sports highlights, to a three-minute profile about a fashion blogger. It's programming designed to be watched in short bursts.
And here's the best part: ReachMe.TV allows people in airports to sync their phones or tablets with airport screens, so they can take the content they were just watching with them.
Here's how it works.
If the airport you're at has ReachMe.TV, and you're enjoying the content on it, but have to walk away from the screen, just go to ReachMe.TV on your mobile device or tablet and type in the channel you're watching (which is shown on the screen) and it will show up. For free. No need to download an app. That's it.
The company is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Ron Bloom and Lynnwood Bibbens, who a few years ago saw the importance personalizing televisions in public places. What started as a dongle Bloom had attached to TVs at some beauty parlors has now turned into a company that reaches more than 100 million viewers a month.
"Imagine being a producer and discovering that if you make something it will be seen by 100 million people a month guaranteed? This is really exciting," Bloom, who is the cofounder and CCO of the company, told Business Insider.
After signing up around 20 airports last year, ReachMe.TV went to market earlier this year and quickly grabbed the attention of the networks. In June, CBS signed a 10 year exclusive partnership with the company to provide local news, weather, and sports from its CBS TV stations, as well as other programs under the CBS umbrella like "Entertainment Tonight," and a newly created news package called "CBS On The Go."
But what is the programming on ReachMe.TV like?
Brevity is one of the keys to the network. Most of the content on ReachMe.TV is short and concise, ranging from a minute or two for news segments, to six to 12 minutes for documentaries or a scripted comedy.
"I love 'Law & Order,' but if I have to catch my plane and I only have 40 minutes, I can't watch that because I know I won't be able to see the end of the episode," cofounder and CEO Bibbens told Business Insider. "So by creating content that's six to ten minutes, now I can consume two to three different episodes."
It's a viewing habit younger, digital-native people have already been doing for years, and Bloom and Bibbens believe that it's perfect for the traveling adult.
The demographic of the ReachMe.TV viewer is someone in their mid-30s to mid-50s, an on-the-go executive who spends a lot of time either at airports or hotels. Their time is precious, and Bloom and Bibbens believe they have reworked how a TV network can find that audience.
"We took the same programming zeitgeist that the major networks use, but broke the format barrier: the length of content," Bloom said. "Let's not have the 22 minutes of content for eight minutes of advertising, let's take any length we want."
Bibbens had experience on the hardware side, including deploying over 200,000 screens in retail spaces and over 100,000 screens in hotels, so he knew how to make them all talk on one network. And Bloom had decades of experience on the content side. He is the creator and executive producer of "Hollywood Today Live," and produced the first webcast of the Grammys in 1995. Bloom built the original content for ReachMe.TV, which currently has a broadcast studio in the heart of Hollywood. There the company is producing its own news programs and even reality shows. ReachMe.TV also has a closed-circuit rights agreement to acquire content (like the Super Bowl).
The company recently landed a deal with HMS Hosts, the premier airport food-service company that handles all the major restaurants and bars at US airports. So if you haven't seen ReachMe.TV when you travel, you will soon.
"We took an aging, rusted concept of slapping a TV in a public place, and we put a new dress on it and took it back to the prom," Bloom said. "Doing that we got companies to not think about it not just as a screen, but as a gateway to their customers."