We’ve all been sucked into watching celeb chefs chilling and grilling. But would you tune in to a bubbly beauty expert whipping up a natural body scrub? Or a former male model serving up Ayurvedic healing tips? (Well, you might, once you catch a glimpse of Yogi Cameron.)
Suddenly, turning on your TV or computer feels like a trip to Miraval, with several wellness lifestyle channels popping up on your flatscreen and on your laptop.
Hoping to capture some of the audience that’s been eating up cooking shows for years, these new, multi-media channels—launched by big-name networks like Scripps and Turner—inspire you to try rock ’n roll yoga, cleaner skin-care products, or kite surfing rather than sitting on your sofa, um, channel surfing. Here are the three major players:
Why the move towards the more motivational? “Sixty-one percent of the US population practices holistic living. Americans are more in tune and more interested in living a life of wellness than ever before,” says Eric Young, VP of programming at Veria Living, which is where you’ll find Yogi Cameron.
The Zee Group has earmarked $250 million dollars for Veria (currently carried on Cablevision/Optimum, DISH network, RCN, and Verizon FiOS) and Veria.com and VeriaLivingGo.com and have already built up what they call the world’s largest library of pure holistic wellness content. That means they’ve assembled talent like Julieanna Hever to give pregnancy tips, Nitika Chopra to make your medicine cabinet and life a more Naturally Beautiful place, and Sadie Nardini to Rock Your Yoga— all with a stylish yet enlightening vibe.
Last June, Scripps, which owns the The Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV, launched a BETA version of Ulive.com offering original, web-only programming for lifestyle categories that include wellness (i.e.: “5 Minute Workout Anywhere”) as well as travel, home, food, and parenting.
The channel officially launched just last week, and is now streaming content showing how to have a successful work-out while taking a shower or how to do yoga with your baby. “We are your friend who wants to inspire you to work out but also let you know there are other ways of feeling good that don’t include a dumbbell,” says Amy Emmerich, senior vice president of programming at Ulive.
And coming soon to a TV near you is Upwave. Part of Turner Broadcasting Systems (which owns CNN, TNT and TBS), Upwave will air health and fitness programs on HLN starting this December, but is already up-and-running on Upwave.com and YouTube.
Though Upwave offers videos for preparing quinoa salad and familiar faces like Keri Glassman, Tim Ferriss, and even the founders of Well+Good, they’re banking on original series like “Why Do Men Have Nipples,” featuring Dr. Billy Goldberg and comic Mark Leyner answering health questions like “Is Microwaving Bad for You” with a big dose of schtick.
Upwave wants to use this more entertaining approach to lure not only regular exercisers, but “strivers” and “hesitators” as well—those looking for help on getting healthy or motivation to start.
“We really see ourselves as an entertainment brand, and we want to close the gap between healthy intention and action,” says Melissa Proctor, VP of marketing. “We want to be the Trojan Horse of health and wellness where you’re so busy laughing that you don’t realize that you got a message.” —Amanda Benchley