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TV for the ultra-wealthy

Jill Barshay Aug 30, 2007

TV for the ultra-wealthy

Jill Barshay Aug 30, 2007


Scott Jagow: These days, there’s a cable channel for just about niche you can think of. The latest example: Plum TV. You can only get it in the most exclusive resort towns in America. Jill Barshay reports from the Hamptons.

Jill Barshay: Plum TV began as a local cable station in Nantucket.

Tom Scott, the man behind Nantucket Nectars, bought the channel and renamed it for the plum-colored cap on his old lemonade bottles. He focused the programming almost exclusively on the local scene. Then he rolled out the channel in seven super-affluent resorts, including Aspen, Miami Beach and Martha’s Vineyard.

Tom Scott: The morning show is, you’re gonna see the head lifeguard, you’re gonna see John Kerry.

Scott says the average income of his viewers is $600,000 a year.

Cathy Rasenberger is a cable TV industry consultant. She says Scott made Plum TV a hit by targeting the elusive mega-rich audience. He’s pulled in top notch sponsors like Porsche and American Express.

Cathy Rasenberger: Almost impossible for advertisers to reach that audience through traditional media. The reason a network like the golf network has been successful is that it delivers that very high income CEO. And that’s what he’s delivering.

But Rasenberger says Plum TV is almost more of a social networking site than a television network, a bit like Facebook for the rich and famous.

Rasenberger: I’ve witnessed it. People love being interviewed on Plum TV because they know they’re actually being seen by their peers.

Luminaries like Bill Clinton:

Bill Clinton: Hillary and Chelsea were doing other things . . .

Writer Joyce Carol Oates:

Joyce Carol Oates: We don’t necessarily begin writing typing . . .

And Donald Rumsfeld:

Donald Rumsfeld: When I came to Vail was in 1974 with President Ford . . .

Some critics have turned up their nose at the network, calling it Wayne’s World for the rich.

A group of locals, including Kate Spade and Jimmy Buffet, recently kicked in $20 million to help make Plum TV a bit plummier.

In the Hamptons, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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