The network is just starting to build a roster of advertisers and has a number of hurdles to leap, but by launching now is laying the groundwork for reaching a demographic for which the Internet is an ever-present medium.
"We're reaching the 12-to-34-year-old audience in their favorite medium," founder Drew Massey said.
Mr. Massey, who started up the magazine P.O.V. in 1995, has been waiting to launch the network until broadband reached critical mass of 20 million households. That's the same number that had cable when MTV began, he said.
He raised $5 million in venture capital. With a marketing budget of about $3.5 million through 2005, Mr. Massey uses a lot of guerrilla marketing and hopes that college students will create buzz through word of mouth.
Many view the content on Wi-Fi at their campuses. The typical show is a video clip, not original to Mania TV, running three to four minutes long. Content includes cartoons, short films, music videos and sports clips. Concerts are on tap. "Everything is rapid fire for that ADD audience," Mr. Massey said. Viewers interact with cyber-jockeys, helping to choose programming, and providing feedback.
Some 10 advertisers have inked deals so far, including Daimler-Chrysler, Princeton Review, U.S. Navy and eBags. Ads can be customized to any length, Mr. Massey said, from 15-, to 30- to 60-second spots, or unusual lengths like 18 or 37 seconds. Mania TV charges about $20 CPM.
Marketing includes keyword bidding on search engines, and e-mail and outdoor at colleges.