Long-time industry executive and Evanston resident Dan Zifkin has launched a new television network that brings English language entertainment programs produced around the world to American audiences.
In addition to a streaming video offering online at Vibrant.tv, Zifkin says the Vibrant TV Network has launched “on a couple of cable systems” and will be available on the Roku set-top box system “in the next two to three weeks.”
He says he’s also negotiating agreements with major television set manufactures to be added to their over-the top systems that deliver television programs through an internet connection.
Zifkin says that during his career with Showtime and other television networks he got to travel a lot internationally and discovered that “there’s a voluminous amount of international programming that we never see — but that an American audience would love.”
With technology changing, making possible an essentially unlimited number of program options, Zifkin says Vibrant now can offer “a way to view other cultures and have an understanding of their life.”
Unlike international programming on PBS, which tends to focus on high-tone dramatic series from the BBC, Vibrant’s current offerings focus on more populist fare from broadcasters in Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy and South Africa. There’s reality programs and food shows as well as comedies and dramas.
About 95 percent of the content is produced in English, the rest has English subtitles, Zifkin says.
Vibrant has only about 15 employees at present, with 13 of those jobs at the corporate headquarters at 990 Grove St. in Evanston.
He says the service only has a few thousand subscribers now but expects to have 10 million or more within the next few months, given the growing number of distribution options.
Zifkin says the company expects to earn three main revenue streams — fees from cable services, video on demand subscriptions and advertising revenue from the live streaming service.
It’s a very competitive field, he concedes, but also a huge industry with room for more. “I’ve been around a long time, Zifkin says, “and I understand what it takes to take a network from infancy to become successful.”
Update 1:46 p.m. 2/5/15: Zifkin now says the 10 million figure above refers to the number of devices the network should soon be available on, not the expected number of actual subscribers.