×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

High Hopes: Pot-Centric Channel 420TV to Light Up Later This Year

Weed fans are about their get their own digital TV network.

As cannabis consumption becomes an increasingly mainstream activity, newly formed venture 420 Entertainment Group is gearing up to debut 420TV, a free, sponsor-supported online video channel to be stocked with scripted and unscripted shows covering marijuana culture, news and entertainment.

The name, of course, is a reference to “4:20” — the time of day pot enthusiasts have long observed for toking up. That’s now extended to April 20, celebrated around the world as Weed Day.

The joint (ahem) venture partners behind 420 Entertainment are OwnZones Media Network, an over-the-top technology and content distributor; Genesis Media, whose investors include the principals behind some the U.S.’s largest medical marijuana cultivation and distribution companies (not to be confused with New York-based video-ad analytics vendor Genesis Media); and Alex Nahai, a former Hollywood agent who runs his own entertainment and branding company. OwnZones, which is leading the JV, declined to identify the backers of the Genesis Media that it’s working with on 420 Entertainment.

The 420TV channel, currently slated to hit in the third quarter of 2017, will feature original episodic series, as well as long- and short-form news, information and entertainment content focusing on all things cannabis. The JV’s partners hope to attract a diverse group of viewers, ranging from millennials to Baby Boomers who are either curious about or have adopted the cannabis lifestyle, said OwnZones founder and CEO Dan Goman.

But why? There’s a ton of pot-related content online already, as well as on TV — including Viceland’s Weed Week programming block this week, HBO comedy “High Maintenance” and Netflix’s forthcoming Kathy Bates-starrer “Disjointed” from Chuck Lorre.

Goman says 420TV will stand out by serving an audience that’s never had a video channel fully dedicated to pot, and he noted that all content will be shot in 4K Ultra HD format.

“The difference is that this will be comprehensive, professionally produced premium content, presenting all different viewpoints,” Goman said. “It’s not going to be some guy in his mom’s basement smoking a joint talking about how great the weed is. It’s a broad-based, mainstream approach to subject matter that until recently was taboo.”

Doug Lee, OwnZone’s programming head and former exec at HBO, MGM and News Corp, will oversee the original programming lineup and manage the day-to-day business of 420TV. At launch, 420TV is aiming to have about 10 series, with dozens of hours of original programming. Other content categories in development include pot-related fashion, comedy, music and animation as well as acquired feature films, documentaries, music and live-streaming events.

Shows currently being developed for 420TV include: “Pot Cast,” a daily news program covering the legal marijuana industry; “Medical Marijuana Miracles,” true stories of real people who have used medical marijuana to treat symptoms and diseases; “Marijuana Moguls,” profiling emerging entrepreneurs in the cannabis biz; and “Cannabis 411,” exploring topics ranging from how pot is grown to how to consume it.

“Don’t think of this as ‘The Stoner Channel,’” Goman said. “It will appeal to everybody.”

The move to launch 420TV comes as more U.S. states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana use, including California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. “Now is a perfect time to capture the zeitgeist,” said Goman.

Some details of 420TV are still, um, hazy. While the channel will launch initially on OwnZones.com and its mobile apps, Goman said it will expand through other internet distributors, and potentially linear TV networks and cable operators. “We are talking to various networks and different digital platforms around the world to close deals,” he said.

420 Entertainment expects to produce three-fourths of the channel’s content in-house, with the rest acquired from media partners. The free service will be sponsored; Goman said that in addition to marijuana-industry players other non-pot brands have expressed interest in partnering with 420TV.

Nahai, who formerly worked at UTA and WME, is on board to help land marquee talent for 420TV’s shows. “The 4K video-on-demand service is just the beginning – we intend to establish 420TV as a franchise brand for multiple lines of related businesses,” said Nahai, who is CEO of Alex Nahai Enterprises (ANE).

For OwnZones, 420TV represents a consumer-facing media brand that will leverage all the pieces of its white-label video distribution business, which counts such clients as Scripps Networks Interactive and Magnolia Pictures. “This is our first project in the content space as extensive and significant in cost, production and reach,” Goman said.

OwnZones Media Network, based in Beverly Hills, has 75 employees worldwide. The company is backed by individual investors and has raised more than $27 million to date, according to CrunchBase.

For the record, Goman said he is not a recreational pot user. “For me this is all new. I’m a clean-lifestyle fanatic,” he said, but added, “I am open to learning.”

More Digital

  • Magic leap Is Hiring to Build

    Magic Leap Plans to Expand to Mobile AR

    Magic Leap is getting ready to embrace augmented reality (AR) on mobile devices. The company is currently looking to hire a senior software engineer for mobile AR, who will be tasked with “expanding Magic Leap’s platform to mobile devices,” according to a new job listing. A Magic Leap spokesperson declined to comment. Magic Leap released [...]

  • Microsoft

    Microsoft Hints at Mixed Reality Update for Mobile World Congress

    Microsoft may give us an update on its Mixed Reality ambitions at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month: The company sent out invites for a press conference Wednesday that list Alex Kipman, who leads its augmented and virtual reality efforts, among the speakers. Kipman will speak together with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and corporate vice [...]

  • Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Local

    Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Entertainment Bundle and Local Channels

    Sinclair Broadcast Group is diving into the increasingly crowded streaming platform arena with the launch today of Stirr, a free OTT entertainment bundle offering local news and general entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels. Sinclair aims to leverage the near-national reach of its sprawling station group with its strong local presence in markets across the country [...]

  • variety digital innovators

    Variety's Digital Innovators 2019: The Trailblazers Pushing Media Boundaries

    A decade ago, when the streaming-video revolution was in its infancy, the internet was more complementary than disruptive to Hollywood. Those days are gone. New platforms have risen up as Silicon Valley players have bulldozed onto the scene, and the media biz is rebuilding the ways it reaches audiences. With the inaugural Variety Digital Innovators [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Hand holding iPhone with

    Netflix Q4 Preview: Price Hike Signals Strong Year-End Quarter

    Netflix is feeling its oats with a price hike across all streaming plans in the U.S.: Coming just two days before it reports fourth-quarter 2018 results, the timing of the fee increases may indicate the company will report a big beat on Q4 expectations. The streamer is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, Jan. 17, after [...]

  • IMDb UnMade - Rainn Wilson, Nick

    Amazon's IMDb Launches Original Series 'UnMade' About Comedians' Rejected Hollywood Pitches

    IMDb, the Amazon-owned entertainment database, has premiered its latest original show: “UnMade,” featuring Rainn Wilson, Nick Cannon, Kristen Schaal, Reggie Watts and other comedians discussing early pet projects that were never produced, until now — sort of. In each episode, one of the guest comedians recounts a project they created and pitched back when they were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content