Plum Plants Stake with New Site Launches

Sun-drenched crooner Jimmy Buffet is among the investors who recently plunked down millions to fund Plum.TV, the nascent television and video content firm. Saturday the company was set to launch new sites aimed at three of its chillier upscale Colorado resort markets: Aspen, Vail, and Telluride. Through these original content sites, Plum aims to appeal to a slightly broader audience than the high-end vacationers viewing its local TV stations, and will offer sponsorships, display ads and in-stream video spots to online advertisers.

“The audience on the Web will continue to be upscale, but will also reach people investigating [visiting or buying homes in] those markets,” said Plum President and co-founder Chris Glowacki. “This is a dynamic group,” he added, noting, “Once you move to a second homeowner base, you end up with a very wealthy but very influential demographic.”

For now, the firm won’t be selling Web ads specifically; rather, current local TV advertisers” ads will migrate online. Advertising for the sites will involve “a lot of bundled [television/Web] deals we expect,” added Glowacki. On the Aspen site, for example, advertisers will include The St. Regis Hotel, while Alpine Bank will run ads on the Vail site, according to Communications Director Graham Veysey.

“We’re comfortable building [the online] audience first,” said Glowacki, who added Plum will be promoting the Web sites on its TV channels as well as through search and other online marketing efforts in the future.

The focus now is on creating content such as articles, extensive weather information, and events calendars along with related photos and video. The sites will feature hundreds of hours worth of video shot for the television stations. Content will be developed by staff at present, but the site may enable CGM as time goes on, Veysey told ClickZ News. Plum has an office for editorial, video production and ad sales staff in each of its high-end local markets. These also include The Hamptons, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, as well as its two newest additions, Miami Beach, and winter sports Mecca Sun Valley, Idaho.

The production outfit plans to launch specific Web sites affiliated with The Hamptons, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard this coming spring; sites for Miami Beach and Sun Valley will come on board once the associated TV deals are finalized.

Plum video programming includes local documentary-style features covering subjects like Nantucket scalloping, and shows with more national appeal such as “Open Exchange: Beyond the Boardroom with Jonathan Tisch,” a CEO interview program.

Plum launched with a TV-only operation in 2004. Since then, the company has formed distribution relationships with several online and on-demand players including AOL, Google, Tivo, and Comcast. Plum was co-founded by Tom Scott, co-founder of juice maker Nantucket Nectars.

Though Plum has “always envisioned we’d be online,” said Glowacki, “Our focus has been on getting the TV part right.” However, he continued, the time is right for the production outfit to plant a stake online beyond simply distributing content through other sites. “On a daily basis, the Web becomes more of a video environment,” he said, “This is really a first step for us.”

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