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Discovery and Eric Schmidt Back Tapp, Platform for $10-Per-Month Web Video

Reportedly in Talks With Sarah Palin for a New Pay Channel Online

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Sarah Palin is reportedly in talks for a channel on new web service Tapp
Sarah Palin is reportedly in talks for a channel on new web service Tapp Credit: ACU

Former TV executives Jeff Gaspin and Jon Klein are starting an online video service with backing from Discovery Communications and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Called Tapp, the service will feature long and short-form programs on channels tied to specific interests such as sports, politics and faith. Each channel will cost about $9.95 a month, with discounts for annual service, Mr. Gaspin, former chairman of NBC Universal Television, and Mr. Klein, ex-U.S. president of CNN, said in a joint interview.

The new network will join a growing list of options for consumers to watch video online, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and the new WWE Network from World Wrestling Entertainment. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck operates The Blaze TV, a $9.95-a-month internet-based subscription service.

Mr. Gaspin, who is chairman, and Mr. Klein, who is CEO, are positioning Tapp as a platform for celebrities and other content creators. Backers also include investment banker Ken Moelis. The first channel will make its debut in a few weeks, the executives said.

They declined to say what it will feature but the New York Post reported this week that Tapp was in talks to create a channel with former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Internet-based distribution allows programmers to reach the public at a much lower cost than broadcast and cable television networks, Mr. Klein said.

"The digital delivery unlocks so much more talent," Mr. Klein said. "They don't have to be big enough to command an entire primetime show that costs tens of millions to produce."

The question is which personalities can command $9.95 per month from fans in a world of proliferating competition, much of it still free and reliant on advertisers for revenue.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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