While noone was looking, Essence and parent company Time Inc. pulled off a move that could have major ramifications down the line. Essence is launching an internet television division headed up by former MTV VP Lesley Pinckney and magazine vet Jen Doman. It appears their agenda is based around creating long form internet tv content, starting with a reality show, 30 Dates in 30 Days (pictured):
As the industry’s first interactive, online reality dating show, 30 Dates in 30 Days pairs five single women with six eligible bachelors each, for a week’s worth of dates. Viewers will watch the dates and select who they think each woman should choose. The show culminates with a group-date event featuring the viewer-matched couples.
A few things to note here. This follows right on the heels of Hearst deciding to create video shorts for Cosmopolitan.com. Essence, one of the lower-profile properties in the Time Inc. stable, essentially just beat Cosmo at the internet video game. If these new shows can be turned into a profit- and click-generating venture, EIC Angela Burt-Murray will have significantly increased pull at Time Inc. In addition, the company will have a template for creating upgraded internet tv content at, among others, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People.
— Neal Ungerleider