Normally, if you’re launching a new ad-supported video brand, you want the biggest distribution possible as quickly as possible. But WME/IMG is taking a different tack with its Made2Measure digital fashion network, slated to launch Tuesday exclusively on Apple TV.
A big reason is that the agency, which is increasingly expanding its content footprint, won’t be generating revenue initially from M2M, its first over-the-top service. Instead the goal at launch is to generate buzz, with advertising and sponsorships to follow if the network gains an audience.
Apple TV has a smaller base in the U.S. than Roku and was outsold by Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV in 2014. Nevertheless, the Apple brand lends a sexy sheen and brand power that aligns well with Made2Measure’s affluent fashionista target demo. Apple’s next generation of Apple TV, priced at $149, is slated to start shipping in late October.
“I’d be hard pressed to tell you about a better marketing partner (than Apple),” said Mark Shapiro, WME/IMG’s chief content officer, adding that M2M is the first network to launch on Apple TV exclusively.
M2M will be available only on Apple TV devices through at least the end of 2015, according to Shapiro. The network will expand to additional platforms, including m2m.tv, beginning in 2016.
For WME/IMG, M2M represents the latest foray into content production. Last month, the company announced a pact with Turner Broadcasting to create an eSports league whose matches will be televised on TBS.
M2M is a “natural extension of our business,” Shaprio said, noting that WME/IMG operates a top modeling agency and stages Fashion Week events in 13 cities worldwide, including New York, London and Milan.
As for potential ad opportunities, Shapiro noted that current sponsors for New York Fashion Week include Maybelline, Lexus and Intel. “They’ll have a lot of interest in these shows,” he said.
The digital network’s lineup will include original digital series and films, news, classic films and documentaries, and runway shows.
At launch, M2M is stocked with six original series, including “Iconic,” a look at influential figures in the world of fashion, such as stylish Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni (pictured above) and the House of Balenciaga; and “Tea at the Beatrice,” an interview series hosted by Glenn O’Brien with guests including Gisele, Proenza Schouler and Richard Prince.
“M2M will showcase fashion from all angles,” Shapiro said. “There are so many incredible stories to tell in this industry, but premium video programming that’s authentic, modern and thought-provoking is still difficult to find.”
M2M also will feature a long-form documentary series, “M2M Films,” which will profile haute-couture legends and classic brands. The first film in the series will be “Battle of Versailles,” a tribute to the mythic night in 1973 that pitted five top American designers against five of their French counterparts.
Susan Hootstein is M2M’s executive producer and director of programming. Before she joined WME/IMG earlier this year, she worked as an exec producer at i-D to launch its video channel in partnership with the London office for Vice Media. Jonathan Dube is GM of digital content for WME/IMG, leading strategy and development of new digital media businesses including Made2Measure.