Uptown Magazine Unplugs with New YouTube Channel and Original Slate

/ Oct 21, 2013


New channel, which launches on November 1, will include shows with brand partners like Marriott, Lexus, and Ciroc.

In the past year, a good number of traditional print-media companies, from newspapers like The Washington Post to magazine publishers like Conde Nast and Hearst, have ventured into producing and distributing original video content on the web. As audience consumption habits evolve, it makes sense for these media companies to diversify the type of content they offer, not the least of which because the web makes it possible for them to do so at a lower cost than television.

Here’s another publisher planning to do the same thing: Uptown Magazine, an urban/lifestyle rag co-founded by Len Burnett, plans to launch a video channel stocked with an array of original shows on November 1.

Uptown Magazine had been under the ownership of Intermedia Vibe Holdings, the parent company of Vibe magazine, since 2011. In January, Burnett announced that he had bought back his magazine from Intermedia Vibe.

uptownmagazinekerrywVideoInk is told that one of the first decisions following the split was to look at producing original web video content under the Uptown brand. With that in mind, Uptown plans to launch a new branded video channel, titled Uptown Unplugged, which will live on YouTube as well as be embedded on sites like Avenue TV, a new video portal for urban-themed web and TV content. Going forward, Uptown Unplugged will serve as the umbrella brand for all of the magazine’s original web programs.

According to source with knowledge of the deals, the launch slate of programming, which will mainly consist of interview-style shows, features partnerships with top consumer brands like Marriott, Ciroc, and Lexus.

There appears to be a deeper integration with the brands here as well: The show sponsored by Marriott will be shot at a studio set up at a Marriott hotel on 57th street in New York. Another interview series, sponsored by Lexus, will take place inside a Lexus SUV. A third show, via a partnership with vodka brand Ciroc, will provide a weekend preview of things happening in NY and other locations, while also “mixing” you a new drink recipe that features Ciroc.

A fourth show, titled “Uptown Studio,” will interview celebrities featured in the bi-monthly magazine.

While Uptown will oversee ad sales for the shows, the magazine’s distribution partnership with Avenue TV covers social marketing and promotion for the content. Avenue TV, which looks to mix video content with a variety of social and community elements for urban audiences, was founded by Clive Henry, a former executive at digital video solutions start-up Ooyala. The portal offers access to shows available on a variety of video platforms, including YouTube and Hulu.

Uptown’s print circulation reaches 250,000 people six times a year.

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