With 14 Emmy Nominations And 5 Wins, Popstar!TV Positions Itself For The Future

By Marc Berman, Contributor
Popstar!TV has taken a built-in youthful audience and has expanded to a mass appeal ad-supported media outlet. Image Source: Popstar!

More Original Dramas, Greater Reach and a New Look

Once upon a time the media landscape was an environment with three broadcast networks and, for a typical market, PBS and a few independent stations. The notion of cable and streaming outlets were not in anyone’s vocabulary. Flash to the present and the challenge in this era of “Peak TV,” where original content is now available in droves at any given time across multiple platforms, is how to stand out in the crowd.

With a veritable explosion of programming, both in the scripted and non-scripted categories, finding the buzzworthy content and recognizing the importance of both the linear and streaming platform models are two necessary steps to foster a prosperous environment. Of course, this is no easy feat.

For PopstarTV!, which was the recipient of five Emmy Awards this year, a library complete with original dramatic series, documentaries and movies produced exclusively for the channel escalates its position as a mass appeal content provider. Popstar!TV runs the gamut in programming from light-hearted and pure entertainment to the focus on socially relevant issues, which gives it an edge in the crowded digital landscape.

Popstar!TV has taken that built-in youthful audience and has expanded to a mass appeal ad-supported media outlet. Image source: Popstar!

Popstar!TV is designed as both a linear platform and an over-the-top (OTT) streaming destination, and the inherent value from the beginning in 2018 was the immediate brand recognition a la the nationally recognized entertainment magazine Popstar!, the Popstar! newsletter, and Popstar! Radio. Capitalizing on the burgeoning social media craze, Popstar! magazine is a destination with over 2-million readers per month who heavily interact via its collective 5-million followers in social media — YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, in particular. Popstar! Radio covers the gamut – entertainment, beauty, fashion, health and news. And Popstar!TV has taken that built-in youthful audience and has expanded to a mass appeal ad-supported media outlet, an attraction for any age category, as an independent platform for original content (dramas, comedies, reality series, movies, documentaries, specials and more) strictly, and exclusively, for Popstar!TV.

“At a time when everything has been turned upside down, the forces behind the Popstar! brand have redefined the definition of what makes, and who is, a popstar,” noted media analyst Mike Tankel, partner/optimist at marketing and development firm To Be Continued. “We are no longer just talking about a teen singing sensation or a Disney Channel or YouTube star, for example. Today’s popstar is you and me; the person sitting in front of the TV, holding the phone at the keyboard. And Popstar!TV has recognized that by bringing us content that crosses demographics, psychographics and interest, focusing on entertainment and effortless moments of escape for each of us to enjoy.”

“We are not a destination associated with anything too niche as you see on the public domain channels or the single series channels,” explained Jim Romanovich, President of PopstarTV! “Nor are we just another digital channel. We are throwing our hats in an arena where places like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Discovery+ reign. So, we have to build on our brand by knowing who we are, understanding what we can accomplish, and expanding our reach with a wide array of tantalizing programming options.”

Capitalizing on Commerce and the Early Critical Acclaim

Combining television and commerce with instant product purchases that tie into living video link ads in the monthly online publication, PopstarTV! offers an added incentive for any advertiser through this built-in revenue stream. With the aforementioned five Emmy Award wins this year (and 14 nominations in total), the growing content provider is cementing its early status as a destination for quality programming.

“To my knowledge, we are the only truly digital independent network to be this widely recognized by the Emmy voters,” said Romanovich. “We’ve set the bar for a lot of the upcoming channels, and the existing channels, and we continue to do so by recognizing the value of programming to an emerging growing demographic.”

Digital scripted drama The Bay on PopstarTV! recently took home four Emmy Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor (Kristos Andrews) and Lead Actress (Karrueche Tran) in a Daytime Fiction Program, Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Daytime Fiction Program (Mike Manning), and Outstanding Younger Performer in a Daytime Fiction Program (Chiara D’Ambrosio). Tran’s win marked the first Emmy victory for a person of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Island) descent, while D’Ambrosio’s victory was the first in that new category. 

Documentary Saluting Everyday Heroes, meanwhile, which celebrates the everyday people who went beyond the call of duty to help during the pandemic, was cited for Outstanding Directing Team for a Single Camera Daytime Non-Fiction Program. Overall, it is just one of the many documentaries at Popstar!TV that showcase pivotal issues.

Popstar!TV was the recipient of five Emmy Awards (and 14 nominations) this year. Image source: Popstar!

In 2019, Popstar!TV’s Emmy-winning Hate Among Us shined the light of the pressing issue of anti-Semitism, past and present. Earlier was the acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide (also known as the Armenian Holocaust) in Architects of Denial. And the subject of Italian ethnicity in America was the theme behind Prisoners Among Us, to name few.

2019 documentary "Hate Among Us" traces the origins of hate crimes against members of the Jewish faith (and others) and the alarming rise at present. Photo source: Associated Television International

“A lot of the people who are utilizing the streaming services, especially if you are watching it on a big screen TV, is the largest demographic who prefers to watch television on television,” noted Romanovich. “These people are mainly watching from their television sets and, because of that, we are treating Popstar!TV as a broadcast network with the same quality as a broadcaster or a top-tier cable network. As a growing voice, we are never shy in showcasing any relevant subjects in our documentary storytelling.”

“We have a set broadcast schedule, with a specific group of programs that run each week in primetime, and we program seasonally,” he added. “And since we also have a strong European and British audience, we have decided to program a primetime schedule just for them that is in sync with their primetime."

The Popstar!TV app is currently available for mobile download on streaming devices and smart TV’s including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, DistroTV, STIRR, Samsung TV, Parsa TV, Plex, XUMO, and recent addition Vizio, among others. In addition to Vizio and Samsung, Popstar! TV is expanding globally on other major free channels such as global launches on the German-based Rlaxx TV, Huawei TV, Pangea Africa, and OneHiub premium channels out of the UK.

The Popstar!TV app is currently available for mobile download on many streaming devices and smart TV’s. Image Source: Popstar!

Currently, Popstar!TV accumulates three to four new platforms worldwide every month including recent additions on smart TV platforms such as LG and Phillips throughout Europe. They are expanding globally by the end of 2022.

Purgatory and a Growing Array of Content at Popstar!TV

With over 3,000 hours of content (including three upcoming original television movies in fourth quarter 2021), the content choices run deep at Popstar!TV. One signature original scripted drama that defines the goal of the platform is thriller Purgatory.

“Each of the eight episodes in the digital series Purgatory gets more intense and gripping as the drama series progresses,’ wrote Markos Papadatos, Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large in reference to the first season. “It will certainly keep viewers and fans at the edge of their seats, and is the ideal series to binge-watch.”

"Purgatory" is about a group of strangers all invited to a lavish celebration at an exclusive resort and becoming unwitting pawns in an elaborate scheme of revenge. Photo source: Popstar!

Launching season two on Thursday, September 16th with one episode per week on the linear platform (and available for streaming the next day), Purgatory tells the tale of a group of strangers invited to a New Year’s Eve celebration at a lavish resort who quickly learn it is not what they expected.

“People beginning in their early 30’s are very health conscious, they are active, they will normally live longer, and they should be recognized as a very important cog in the future of all streaming services,” explained Romanovich. “They want to consume content that invigorates them and gets them involved. That is what Popstar!TV is all about; the active lifestyle of the individual who enjoys in engaging in exciting and thrilling programming. These are the people who look for platforms like Popstar!TV to entertain them.”

Other dramas present at Popstar!TV include The Agency, set at a top Hollywood agency; and Tainted Dreams, which follows the cast and crew of a fictitious soap opera. Popstar!TV also premiered the remastered original 10 episodes of The Bay. On the broad comedy front, This Just In features Elizabeth Stanton as a socially awkward girl who finds a rather eclectic group of friends in high school. On the music talk and performance side is B-Sides, which shares the stories and experiences of the creators who push the boundaries.

"This Just In” features Elizabeth Stanton as a socially awkward girl who finds a rather eclectic group of friends in high school, and “B-Sides" shares the stories and experiences of the creators who push the boundaries. Image Source: Popstar!

Additionally, Laura McKenzie’s Traveler offers travel seekers a showcase of different destinations for the active traveler who is looking for real places around the world to visit. Fans of television, past and present, can enjoy Behind the Fame, which profiles an array of TV series, or perhaps the approximate 150 movies from recent years, the rare episodic television documentaries, and the holiday specials.

Anyone, meanwhile, interested in the reality type format have entries like The World’s Funniest Moments, Impossible, Forbidden Secrets, Real Vice Cops, and Street Magic, which follows the world of street magicians, urban illusionists and performance artists, at their fingertips.

“People want escapism when they watch TV, I believe, because they are getting too much skewed reality in the news and in their everyday lives,” said Romanovich. “We want our viewers to know that life is actually good and they will respond to the right programming.”

A New Look for Popstar!TV

Recently redesigned in a cool vibrant blue, the goal behind the new look for the color tone is to reflect the expansion of the Popstar!TV demographic. More specifically, the equal split of the men and women in the 25 to 54 category who are looking for a variety of entertainment with an edge and a vitality.

“We have expanded the look of Popstar!TV to reflect the wider group demo, increased viewership, and the several Emmy wins,” said Romanovich. “We initially acquired the Popstar! brand because we saw possibilities that could be expanded into radio, into magazines, and into digital. As the franchise has expanded, we are going to where the audience is and we are catering to that.”

“Popstar!TV is one of the few content providers – the only one, perhaps — that does not tell us who to be, but simply to let us be who we are,” noted Mike Tankel. “It is a celebration of the individuality that makes each and every one of us a popstar in our own right.”

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