CONtv Digital Network Now Available
CONtv, the digital network for fans created by Wizard World and Cinedigm, is now live for US viewers. (It’s formally described as an “over-the-top multi-platform service” — TV terminology is pretty complicated these days.)
It’s free to watch online with ads, or $6.99/month to get the full experience. Some of the programming (such as Farscape) is only available to subscribers, although that’s not obvious from the Browse pages. It’s only when you try to access it you’re told you have to log in. They are “striving hard” to “only deliver ads that are relevant to our community.” (The first ad I saw was for Nexium; they also run car insurance ads.)
The subscription fee will also include “early access to Wizard World conventions, reserved seating at panels, [and show] discounts”, combining real-world and online benefits. The service can be accessed on iPads, Android tablets, and Roku, with Xbox and PlayStation planned (although you may not be able to watch without creating a free account on some of those services — the web plays without any sign-in required).
They’re planning on updating the content weekly, and they seem to eagerly seek feedback, with lots of mentions of how to provide input on their FAQ page. In their press release, they promise, “The programming will evolve to meet viewer demands and the service will continue to grow as viewership data sheds light on fan preferences.”
None of the original shows are available yet, but Bruce Campbell’s pop culture trivia game show Last Fan Standing will be available March 9, and Fight of the Living Dead, a YouTube celebrity/zombie reality show, will debut March 22. Overall, I didn’t find any of the content a must-see (these days, I’m looking to cut back on viewing, not add another source), but for a number of people, the sheer variety (including fan-made movies) will make for a lot of fun exploration. Whoever is curating the content seems to have a great handle on a particular type of viewer.