The Kardashians have made a living out of antics and behavior many would consider to be over the top. But the sisters' next business venture will literally be over the top, with a streaming video channel created in partnership with Lloyd Braun's Whalerock Industries.
According to a story published Wednesday in The New York Times, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney will be getting their own ad-supported digital content hub, a place that will offer vieweres exclusive photos, city guides (where the sisters ate, slept and shopped) and makeup tips, among other things.
“This isn’t about doing another website,” Kim Kardashian told the Times. “It’s about creating a digital destination.”
The Kardashian channel will be among the first of more than a dozen that Whalerock intends to roll out by 2018. The first of these apps, which will be built for the rapper and entertainer Tyler, the Creator, will launch in June, with the Kardashian app to follow. A separate channel for Howard Stern will launch this year as well. Whalerock, which will help its partners develop channel content, will take a cut of the revenue generated from ad sales and subscription fees; that cut will vary from partnership to partnership.
While services that bypass the cable TV box -- so-called "over-the-top" networks -- like Sling TV are very much in their infancy, there is precedent for a celebrity driving devoted fans to sign up for a digital channel dedicated solely to them. The success story most often cited is TheBlaze, a Glenn Beck-hosted digital channel that has some 400,000 subscribers each paying $9.95 per month for content. That content is available through a number of OTT providers, including Roku and Apple TV, as well as select cable providers including Dish Network. Last year, World Wrestling Entertainment's own OTT channel hit its own milestone, with more than one million subscribers stretched out across 170 countries.
Whalerock is not the only company making a push in this direction. Another startup, Tapp TV, has built similar digital channels for one-time presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and Sarah Palin, as well as the Christian author and radio host Steve Arterburn.
Unlike the The Blaze, the Kardashian channel is likely to be ad-supported at first. Former ABC and Yahoo exec Braun indicated future channels may have free and paid tiers of subscription.
The launch of the new app aligns perfectly with the family's media deals. A three-year contract extension the family signed with E! in 2012 expires in 2015.