Green Goes Mainstream

Following the Oscar win for the Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, television programmers are making room for the earth, both online and on-air. You could say green has become the new black. Consider:         

>> Discovery recently unveiled plans to rebrand Discovery Home to tilt the 50 million-subscriber network toward green lifestyle programming. The effort includes a $50 million investment in programming on sustainable development, organic lifestyle and healthy living.

>> Scripps Networks introduced several green-centric online series in the late spring on, and and planned to air a DIY special on energy saving and an HGTV special on environmentally friendly homes.

>> Green media company Lime plans to debut six new Web series in the third quarter, more than doubling its original online shows. Lime also landed Microsoft as an advertiser for a new ad network that sells ads across and other eco-friendly sites. Lime had nearly tripled its number of advertisers and quadrupled its ad revenues in the second quarter compared to the fourth quarter of its last fiscal year.

These programmers are following both the money and the mindset. The green consumer segment boasts more than $230 billion in spending power, according to a study from the National Marketing Institute.

Green living has percolated into the consumer’s consciousness. “[Networks] are reacting to what is going on in society, and there is a big push now about what’s going on in the environment,” said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media. Advertisers like green programming because the consumers are usually younger, more engaged and more likely to respond to the ads that can blend into the programming in such an environment, he says.

Lime can attest to the ad growth. The network, backed by former AOL executive Steve Case, launched in 2005 with 6.5 million linear subscribers as part of a multi-platform distribution strategy. But gaining linear distribution is tough so Lime decided earlier this year to focus exclusively on digital distribution via its own site, broadband distribution services such as Joost and AOL Video, video-on-demand, mobile TV and satellite radio.

Besides, the green consumer is a “lean-forward” consumer, says C.J. Kettler, founder and CEO of Lime. Lime’s site links in environmentally focused bloggers and ecocentric Web sites, and also lets users post information on local stores and services that boast green-friendly business practices.

“Lime is really on pace to be the destination for green living,” Kettler says. But Lime will face stiff competition.

“Discovery PlanetGreen aims to be the No. 1 media destination for this growing consumer segment,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said when he announced the new programming.

The good news is with consumer interest spiraling, there might indeed be room for everyone.

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