Hearst’s Next OTT Play? A Faith-Based Channel from UAMG

By Sahil Patel

United Artists Media Group, a joint venture between Hearst, MGM, and producer Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, plans to launch a new over-the-top video channel dedicated to faith-based content.

A launch date has been disclosed as of yet, but according to Hearst, the channel will be made available to audiences worldwide, and will feature a mix of original content, premium film and TV catalog titles, Christian music videos, “portals” to regional and national congregations, sermons from around the globe, and various short-form faith-based videos.

The channel will likely compete with a similar faith-based OTT product from film/TV distributor Cinedigm and the Dove Foundation, which is scheduled for a spring 2015 launch.

This won’t be the first direct-to-consumer streaming play from Hearst or a Hearst-owned business. Earlier in 2014, the media giant’s Hearst Digital Studios unit launched CosmoBody, a subscription streaming channel for fitness videos. The channel was built in partnership with Cosmopolitan magazine’s editorial team, and features video content produced by Mark Burnett’s Vimby Studios, and editorial content sourced from Cosmo.

CosmoBody is the first of several SVOD services Hearst hopes to launch in the future. Some could be tied to other Hearst properties — Awesomeness TV, which Hearst has a stake in, is building an SVOD product — while others could come via collaborations with outside partners, the company has previously said.