Red Bull has more than proven it can pull an audience. From Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking Stratos mission—a supersonic free fall “space jump” in 2012 that’s still the most-watched live-stream in history—to its continual, year-round output, it now produces enough video content to feed the Red Bull TV online video channel and the Red Bull-branded YouTube channel with nearly 4.2 million subscribers. Now it’s looking to bring its Red Bull TV brand to traditional television with its first full-time linear channel.
The energy-drink maker’s Red Bull Media House arm has produced an exhaustive amount of content for a multitude of partners and platforms including video on demand, long form feature film, magazine-style specials (such as NBC’s 2012 Red Bull Signature Series and more recently, a TV special on skier Lindsay Vonn) in addition to documentary, live broadcast and reality TV formats—not to mention content for print, digital media, music and games since 2007.
The Red Bull TV digital offering also includes apps for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, and integrates with platforms including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Kindle Fire, Roku, Xbox 360 and Smart TVs.
So is Red Bull at the tipping point of being a media brand that happens to produce beverages? The company currently offers more than 1,000 hours of video that it licenses to broadcast channels and digital platforms worldwide, an archive and wealth of experience it can certainly leverage as it prepares to launch a full-time linear Red Bull TV channel next year, while it will also commission original programming from independent producers and production companies.
To help Red Bull bring its full-time TV channel to a planned 30 to 50 countries, the high-energy brand—which has aligned its brand with action sports and extreme adventure—has just signed India’s Tata Communications as its “connectivity” partner to enable real-time broadcasting and video distribution.
According to Marketing Interactive, in addition to using its IPTV capabilities to support Red Bull TV, “Tata Communications has also been selected as the preferred media connectivity partner for the Red Bull events globally, transmitting live data over its fibre network to the Red Bull Media House HQ. Red Bull Media House will use Tata Communications’ Video Connect Service to ensure maximum up time, reliability and premium quality of video delivery – optimising the consumers’ viewing experience.”
“Whether we’re broadcasting a historic space jump or a live concert, we need to be confident of maximum uptime, global reach and security,” Andreas Gall, Red Bull Media House’s chief technology officer, stated in a press release. “We’re extremely proud to be launching this cutting edge technology with Tata Communications, a company that shares a DNA similar to ours in experimental improvement and continuous innovations.”
In addition to operating its own linear TV network, Red Bull content is a natural for virtual reality, an area it’s now exploring with the goal of launching VR content in the coming year, Broadcastnow reports. “The idea is to put the camera in the sweet spot of a concert, for example,” Gall stated. “We’ll give you the option to put on a virtual reality device and then you’ll be transported to the middle of a concert, the top of a mountain or the middle of a huge event.”
Red Bull also currently produces programming for the German-language Servus TV in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland—a partnership that inspired the beverage maker to think bigger. Gall told BroadcastNow that the plan calls for the new Red Bull channel to be seen in 30 to 50 countries.
The beverage-maker is also shoring up its talent team, recently advertising for a UK-based Head of Original Programing on LinkedIn, an opening (now closed). The role involved overseeing video content that would fit into six buckets (Entertainment, Music, Culture, Science & Innovation, E-Sports, Sports and Adventure) and would be required to “develop state of the art production and storytelling approaches for linear and digital platforms with an emphasis on digital enhancements, second-screen viewing and cross-media concepts.”
Whoever landed the spot will need to be steeped in Red Bull’s guiding content marketing principles, which Digiday summarizes as: Keep content at the center, don’t stray from brand message—and keep taking risks, a credo the brand clearly has no problem following.