702.tv recently launched in Las Vegas its new Web and TV product from Greenspun Interactive. “News never looked so good,” touts the tagline of 702.tv’s promotional ads, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the show’s non-traditional approach to news.
Rob Curley, president and editor of Greenspun Interactive, said the project is part of a challenge laid out to his team by Brian Greenspun, Curley’s boss and Las Vegas media mogul who owns the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Weekly, Greenspun Interactive, Vegas.com and a host of other properties in Sin City.
“If I were to try and tell you that this was built to save democracy, I’d be lying,” Curley said in a phone interview with Poynter. “We’re not trying to reinvent the news, we’re trying to go after an audience that doesn’t care about the news and trying to figure out how can we trick them into learning something. If we can reach that market and help our advertisers have success, we get to fund more journalism.”
To describe 702.tv to journalists (whom he emphatically emphasizes are not the target audience of the program), Curley has used the analogy of a bowl full of Skittles with a handful of vitamins mixed in; the show has a colorful, fun-loving format with a little bit of news that’s good for you.
The 30 minute, twice-weekly show airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. (PT) n VegasTV, a cable station that Greenspun has a major stake in. The show will also be distributed through multiple platforms — the Web, mobile devices and Apple TV.
The 702.tv team plans to go five days a week in the fall, with a potential lead-in from syndicated episodes of “The Office.” A staff of 11 produces the show with much of the content coming from local Web videos created from the company’s entertainment sites, including the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly. Curley said that generally a three-to-four minute package on the Web during the week ends up becoming a 90-second piece in a TV episode.
Curley said the new product will be marketed through ads and content promotion in the Greenspun family of publications, including two daily pages in the Las Vegas Sun devoted to sports and entertainment news, interactive billboards around Las Vegas, semi-monthly promotional parties and appearances on Las Vegas media outlets.
Curley admits 702.tv is in its early stage of development and is going to be constantly evolving. “The whole thing is a work in progress,” he said. “One of the things we learned out of Studio 55 is this sucker better evolve every day — and that means the broadcast piece and the Web piece.”
The team is experimenting with new revenue models, including the use of “promotional partners” within the production to earn money. 702.tv hasn’t integrated any yet, but Curley said they will be clearly labeled and produced separately by Sun Media Productions (also a Greenspun business).