OUTtv pushes boundaries with new iTunes deal, app

The channel is distributing five of its series and three feature movies through the iTunes store, as well as a new app with geo-targeted advertising opportunities.

In an effort to expand its reach beyond the virtual borders of premium cable subscriptions and TV ownership, OUTtv has a new deal with iTunes that will see five of its shows available via the online store.

The first three of the shows, which debuted on iTunes Dec. 21 and are currently available for $1.99 per episode, include Don’t Quit Your Gay Job, How Far Will You Go and Tops and Bottoms. The other two programs will debut this month. Three feature films from the channel will also be added soon.

In addition to the iTunes shows, the channel has also concurrently developed an OUTtv app. Available for free from the iTunes store, it is meant to be independent of, but complementary to, the iTunes-purchased shows, Brad Danks, COO, OUTtv, tells MiC.

Through the app, viewers will be able to watch free single episodes of certain shows, see program schedules and access the channel’s Twitter feed, quizzes and more. It features customizable ad opportunities, including the ability to geo-target OUTtv fans based on their location. Contests, promotions and other sponsorship opportunities will be available as well.

The idea is for the two media to complement each other in a ‘freemium’ model, Danks says. Content on the the app will be free – including selected episodes of shows available through iTunes – and sometimes exclusive to the app, while the more abundant iTunes content will be paid.

The tools are an important media strategy to increase the channel’s reach to the under-30 gay community, Danks says, a group the channel has traditionally struggled to reach because they are more likely to own a computer than a TV with premium cable subscription. Additionally, he adds, the online-based formats allow local or regional advertisers to reach OUTtv’s audience in Canada’s smaller communities, in which the channel has a sizable fan base.

Although promo has not yet started, the app and new iTunes content will be promoted on-air on OUTtv and in the gay press in Canada, including magazines, newspapers and websites (all media buys handled in-house, with creative by Vancouver’s Momentum Media Marketing). It will also be promoted through the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.