Juice rebrands as sports-focused Garage, aims to offer content not available on YouTube

Over the last few years, the MTV network’s advertising revenue has dropped from US$720 million in 2007 to US$504 million in 2014. And this isn’t all that surprising, given that the network’s younger target audience is shifting its consumption from traditional to digital channels—something that Forbes says is driven by the growth of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. 

Locally, the SVOD market is also gaining momentum and younger users can already access all the music videos they want via YouTube. And this posed a significant threat to Juice TV, a music TV brand designed to attract a younger audience.

So rather than waiting for the channel’s audience to diminish further, Flame Tree Media has announced the rebranding of Juice TV to Garage, a 24-hour action and adventure entertainment channel.  

The channel will be available from Friday 15 May on SKY 112 and will screen over 3,000 titles of original HD content, according to a release.

“Garage will deliver unique access into a world of outstanding extremes featuring award-winning documentaries, inspirational adventure films and television series.”

Flame Tree Media founder and director Dan Wrightson says: “New Zealand is a nation of adventure lovers from eight to 80 years of age. Until now, there has been a bungy-jump sized gap in the market for those wanting to unlock adventure on TV – Garage is the key.”

The show will include a range of action and extreme sports including surf, snow, skate, ski, motorbike and others according to a release.

“Viewers can expect to see a mixture of high octane international stars like Kelly Slater, Mark Mathews, Shaun White, Travis Pastrana and Tony Hawk plus … a key component is introducing the hottest local talent on the rise at home and around the world.”

Though Juice TV is for all intents and purposes calling it quits after a 21-years-long lifespan, Wrightson says it will live on in a half-hour daily segment on Garage where it will play Kiwi music videos and interviews.

Wrightson says Flame Tree Media decided to evolve Juice TV into Garage after the simple realisation that all the content it was playing was as available to its viewers as it was to them. 

“When the copyright owners are posting videos of Taylor Swift [to YouTube]before giving them to us to play it leads us to question why we exist. I looked at ours and looked at other channels and realised the people putting the clips up were the ones who owned them. They were cutting out the middleman so to speak.”

He says working on Garage feels like what it did in the early days of Juice TV. 

“The good content [we get]is hard to find and it’s copyright protected, so that’s what we used to do in the old days with music. For me, Garage is the next evolution in youth TV – action and adventure entertainment with a killer soundtrack is without doubt, the new ‘Rock n’ Roll’. And like music TV in the past, we’ll be opening up a world of opportunity for young content makers to share and showcase their incredible talents.”

Though adrenaline and extreme sports videos are available on YouTube, the site hasn’t got everything, Wrightson says.

“A lot of stuff we have is exclusively available to us and there is plenty of content that we have that isn’t available on YouTube. The reason we sit and watch a big screen TV as opposed to your phone or computer is a chance to see it in a format you enjoy and just sit back with your friends … sometimes you just want to sit back and immerse yourself in it.”

The target audience for the new channel is 15- to 29-year-olds, but Wrightson says it’s more of a psychographic than a demographic. 

“The adventure sports demographic around the country is eight to 80 … we have a great country for skiing and snowboarding and boogie boarding.”

Though he says the cost of the rebrand was not unsubstantial he didn’t have a specific figure to share.

“There’s no specific number. It’s the same personnel but instead of playing music we are doing adventure entertainment and that’s something we believe in, it’s been a worthwhile investment … we are in this for the long-term,” he says. “We’ve been an icon and we’re not killing it, we are putting it to bed for a bit and redeveloping it and creating something bright and new.”

According to data Wrightson gathered from Nielsen, there are 1.774 million action and adventure enthusiasts in New Zealand who he believes will welcome the show.

Garage will be run on a daily basis by former Juice TV and Sky Sports host Duane Mutu and Garage will also have two hosts of part of the line up who will be selected by a competition of which the details will be released in the coming weeks, according to the release.

Extreme sports seem to capture attention easily and are used in the form of content marketing for a number of brands. Red Bull teamed up with Pharrell Williams for its ‘World of Red Bull’ commercial, which featured Williams’ track ‘Come Get it Bae’. The ad shows how entwined Red Bull is with extreme sports, with shots of surfers Jamie O’Brien and Sally Fitzgibbons, mountain biker Brook MacDonald, cliff diver Orlando Duque, five-time Dakar Rally champion Cyril Despres, and bands Awolnation and Skrillex.     

Red Bull has taken a similar approach with one of its latest commercial, released last month, which also features shots of extreme sportsmen and women but this time along to the “I am” by Awolnation.

In recent years, the energy drink company has become the poster child of content marketing, with many applauding it for inextricably linking extreme sports content to its brand. And this novel approach to marketing has also won fans in content marketing circles, with some industry commentators pointing out that the way in which the company obscures the lines between publishing and advertising makes it a best-practice model that other content marketers should aim to emulate.    

GoPro’s marketing strategy is in a similar vein, except the footage is often captured by the product’s users, showing what is possible with GoPro’s range of accessories in a variety of different environments. And its social media channels are burgeoning with such clips.

Canon and Nikon DSLR camera brands also use this approach, often incorporating extreme sports into their campaigns shot from their own products because they make for eye-catching footage.

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