Al Roker's forecast for new 'livestream network': Brand opportunity

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Roker Media, launched on Thursday morning, claims to be the first "livestream network."

"Today" co-host Al Roker on Thursday launched a livestream-based media company known as Roker Media that will use popular apps to host original shows and branded content.

The company claims to be the first "livestream network." It will use Periscope, YouNow, Facebook Live and YouTube to broadcast its lifestyle, food, sports, music and entertainment shows. It experimented with hosting branded content pre-launch.

"If you think about all the opportunities, they’re endless," said Ronald Pruett Jr., CEO of Roker Media. "Once you start doing live, it's almost impossible to turn back. It’s the future of marketing."

Roker Media recently partnered with a food-distribution company in Boston, Sid Wainer & Son, to host a QVC-like live show on Facebook Live, where chefs talked about the food and drove viewers to the company’s website. Roker Media also partnered with Plated, a meal-delivery service, and broadcast a show from its kitchens, Pruett said.

Using several livestream platforms has given Roker Media a range of target audiences, and the company has been studying data on each. It’s found Millennials use platforms such as YouNow, while Facebook and Periscope trend a bit older.

"We started out targeting a broader audience on Periscope and Meerkcat," Pruett said. "Now we’ve been developing programming and talent geared to the different audience on each platform."

Roker’s entertainment company, Al Roker Entertainment, also partnered with Business Wire last September to create a live-stream show called BizWire TV. Pruett said this partnership will continue as part of Roker Media.

The new live-stream network will be structured more like a traditional TV network, with shows recurring weekly at a specific time in an effort to create appointment viewing.

Roker Media teamed up with several moguls to build its sports, entertainment, and music categories, including JRSportBrief founders JR Jackson and Charlie Stettler; CEO and founder of Frederator Networks Fred Seibert; and Lyor Cohen, CEO of 300 Entertainment and president and CEO of Island Def Jam.

"It’s another arrow in the quiver for PR professionals to get directly in front of consumers and investors," Pruett said.

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