April 10, 2007
Update: Lime TV Living On as Online/VOD Brand

When life handed Lime a lemon, it made lemonade. Or maybe it made Sprite. I'm not really sure. But I wrote back in February about Lime TV making the decision to switch from being a traditional linear channel and instead providing content through video-on-demand and broadband.

Since that time, Lime TV lives on, focusing on "healthy living with a twist." The Steve Case broadband video channel features multiplatform content through its Web site and VOD services and has launched quite a few campaigns, including a push to "live the change," encouraging its fans to walk as often as they can to get from place to place, log their walking minutes, and discuss their experiences while walking with friends or on their lunch break.

The "live the change" tag line also includes testimonials by stars like Penelope Cruz and multiplatform interactive features like forums, a blog, and user videos.

The company has also focused on more viral marketing for its campaigns, relying on building a community of health-conscious consumers around its broadband platform. Take, for instance, the way it connects with other Web sites focused around healthy living.

Yesterday, I saw this post about the ways in which Lime is reaching out to its fan base. In this case, Barb at Naturally WAHMs was a former subscriber to the linear Lime TV channel who had even paid extra to get the channel, only to have it cancelled. She doesn't really seem aware that Lime has ceased all linear TV marketing and only knows that it disappeared from her lineup, so this type of direct outreach is particularly effective.

Lime representative Monique writes Naturally WAHMs about their new "live the change" campaign and promotes the "Live the Change & Walk Out" program I was describing early, in order to create a social community around a culture of walking and then discussing those experiences online.

Barb writes, "Because I do believe that little steps can make a big difference, and because walking is such a great form of exercise [ . . . ] I am glad to spread the word about this challenge and help Lime.com 'show the world what small steps can accomplish' (and honored they asked us to do so)."

The revenue for Lime TV does not have the potential a linear TV network does on cable, but the costs of such a product is also significantly less. Instead, they are creating a variety of inventive partnerships with advertisers, including a contest with Garnier's Nutrioniste skincare for a day of pampering for two at a spa and a $1,500 giftbag. The contest just ended in late March.

Of course, that doesn't meant that there weren't plenty of disappointed viewers when Lime TV left the air as a linear channel on 25 February, including Maryam Webster's comment that the Web site contained "a very limited set of offerings" compared to what was available on the digital channel on a daily basis.

Back in February, I wrote about Andrew Wallenstein's comments that new independent linear TV channels could take years to become profitable but that moving to the Web and VOD involves much fewer risks. I wrote that I would consider the move "a significant development in the television landscape."

At this point, Lime seems to be settling into its niche as a broadband television provider and will likely have a much easier time staying in the black than it would trying to make it as a linear venture. If the company continues to work harder at building a social community around its content, I think it can push to increase awareness of its continued existence on broadband, reaching out to those former linear subscribers and trying to provide as much content as it can for them, as well as a space to discuss and build relationships around that content with like-minded health-conscious people.