RightThisMinute Beats the Odds to Find Syndication Success
At a time the failure rate in television syndication is rising, one of the few shows that has broken out in the past year is RightThisMinute.
It has done it without well-known talent, while based far from the media spotlight in Arizona, by offering a daily menu of the hottest, funniest, most interesting videos the producers can pull off the web (for free).
Everybody from GMA to local news has access to the same videos, but RTM shows more than most and often tracks down the people in and behind the videos and tells their personal stories.
This fall it adds Oli Pettigrew as one of its five hosts. He replaces Steven Fabian, who is moving to New York to be a correspondent on Inside Edition. Pettigrew joins existing hosts Beth Troutman, Christian Vera, Nick Calderone and Gayle Bass.
RTN will air beginning in September on Monday through Friday for the first time in the two biggest U.S. media markets, playing on Fox stations at noon in New York and 1 p.m. in Los Angeles.
It also goes daily on Fox stations in Dallas, Boston, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Charlotte and Washington, D.C. It will be on a total of 182 stations beginning this fall. It has also aired on the HLN cable network since February.
Nearly four years after it was launched by a trio of TV station groups, the surprise hit distributed by MGM Television will expand its reach to 91 percent of all U.S. television homes, up from 65 percent this season, and 30 percent in 2011-2012, according to MGM president of domestic TV distribution John Bryan.
Launched in national syndication in September 2013, in the most current week it has a 1.1 household rating and a 0.5 rating in the key demo of women 25-54. It is being watched this season by an average of 1.5 million people a day.
It has shown growth overall and most importantly among younger viewers. In the May 2013 sweeps in the San Francisco market, for instance, RTM had a 1.8 household rating and in May 2014 a 2.2, an increase of 21 percent. Among those 18 to 34, RTM went from a 0.4 rating to a 0.5, up 14 percent.
In the 18-to-34 age group, RTM draws more viewers in daytime than TMZ, Access Hollywood or The Insider.
Of four shows that went into national syndication at the same time two are now cancelled (Bethenny, Arsenio) and it rates higher than the two still on (Queen Latifah, Paternity Court).
“Last season saw record viewership numbers nationwide,” said Phil Alvidrez, executive in charge of production for the producer, Arizona-based MagicDust, “affirming our belief that TV audiences want to connect with compelling online video in a deeper way,”
Pettigrew, who was born in Hong Kong, is relocating to Arizona from Singapore where he has hosted Cash Cab Asia and Lonely Planet: Six Degrees China. He has also worked for Star World, HBO, Cinemax, Food Network and TLC.
RTM, which debuted in Sept. 2011, is also unusual in that it is owned by three TV stations groups – Cox Media, Raycom Media and The E.W. Scripps Company. Almost all other top syndicated shows are backed by big studios or producers.
CORRECTION: This article was updated to note May sweeps numbers are from San Francisco only and the show beats TMZ and others in daytime, not all day parts.