The PTA original programming, aimed at audiences that skew younger than the typical TV viewer, is available to all Comcast Xfinity TV and broadband subscribers nationwide after launching earlier this week. The content is available on X1 and legacy set-tops with on-demand capabilities, as well as Comcast’s websites and apps.
PTA launched in the summer of 2014 as an ad-supported streaming television channel on Roku, followed by Amazon Fire TV. It’s also available as a 24-hour linear television channel in U.S. hotel rooms via Sonifi Solutions, as part of Delta Air Lines’ in-flight entertainment system and in airports nationwide via the ClearTV network.
“Comcast is one of the nation’s largest and most forward-thinking video providers,” said Michael Shimbo, founder and CEO of PTA Networks. “We are thrilled to offer PTA programming to all of their subscribers where, when and how they want to watch.”
Content from PTA on Xfinity On Demand includes “StateXState” with music tour manager Rick Marino exploring unique sides of America; “Day Off” with photographer Noah Abrams covering the best of cities around the world with celebrity co-hosts; and “Foreign in the USA,” that explores international experiences within U.S borders. The entire PTA catalog of programming will be added to Comcast’s VOD service in the future.
Shows available on Comcast’s Watchable at launch include “Postcards,” which highlights the travel films from creators around the world; “Staycation,” which documents locals finding a vacation in their own backyard; and “EatPlayStay (EPS),” focusing on the best of what domestic and international cities have to offer both travelers and residents.
Investors in New York-based PTA Networks, which has raised about $2 million to date, include Venture51, 500Startups, Raycom Media, Brave Ventures and Judy McGrath, former CEO of MTV Networks who now heads up digital studio Astronauts Wanted.
Shimbo said PTA is now actively raising an additional strategic round of funding to develop and produce new programming, license new content, build out technology and expand distribution. The company has about 10 full-time employees.
“For 22 years, the Travel Channel has dominated this space,” he said. “There’s room for another brand to find interest from a younger, hipper audience.”
All told, PTA has produced 100 original titles in the last year and half, focused on 22-minute shows that can be spliced into shorter-form segments. The company has worked with talent including professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, celebrity chefs Tyler Florence and Kevin Gillespie and musician Nikki Lane.
“It’s not only great, stunning storytelling – it’s also a great user experience,” said Jesse Redniss, principal at media-consulting firm Brave Ventures. “Their team is a hybrid of technologists and storytellers.”
Shimbo, prior to launching PTA, lead creative and strategy efforts within iAd, Apple’s mobile advertising solution. Prior to Apple he was VP of digital content and strategy and G.M. of Live Nation Entertainment’s Live Daily music brand, and previously founded Concert.TV, an on-demand music, lifestyle and culture network sold to Mag Rack Entertainment in January 2009.