Atmosphere raises $10M to stream viral video at bars and gyms

by Katie Fustich
April 23, 2019
Atmosphere
image via chive media group

In the ten years since its founding, Chive Media Group has become a hub for new forms of entertainment. And after after breaking the mold in the viral video space, the company is turning to a more traditional avenue for its next big project: television.

Since the dawn of televised sporting events, screens have provided bar patrons with a welcome excuse to break eye contact and put conversations on hold for a little while. But if you’re not into sports and looking for something to display without sound, there’s not a lot of options out there.

Atmosphere, a streaming portal launched by Chive Media, aims to fill this niche with a range of custom “ambient” streaming channels — giving its own content broader distribution as well.

“TheCHIVE was looking for a new distribution platform to introduce and monetize our viral video content to a new audience in a space outside the digital media landscape, which is dominated by social media platforms,” CEO Leo Resig told Built In. “Atmosphere is the vessel that houses all of our ambient TV channels that cater to customers in different retail venues.”

Today, Atmosphere announced it had secured $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by S3 Ventures, an Austin-based firm, with additional participation from Capstar Capital. S3 Ventures Partner Charlie Plauche will be joining Atmosphere’s board as part of the deal.

According to a statement from the company, the fresh funds will be used to accelerate B2B distribution of the Ambient TV product, in addition to fueling the technology, data and monetization elements of the firm.

Although residents in urban areas spend 70 percent of our waking hours outside of the home, Resig said, no broadcaster has figured out how to design content for viewers on the go.

“TV programming in businesses is sub-par, with talking heads and closed captions,” said Resig. “It’s the same programming made for living room viewing. No one is programming for an out-of-home, audio-free TV viewing experience.”

That’s where Atmosphere comes in. The platform hosts a variety of different channels, each with a specific theme. “Happy TV” offers a stream of viral videos in the puppies and babies vein, while “Escape TV” transports viewers to exotic locations. “Motiv8 TV” serves up content guaranteed to help you power through your next workout.

Atmosphere also will serve as the future home of CHIVE TV, which currently streams in more than 4,300 businesses, and growing.

Currently, CHIVE TV is free for businesses, provided they play at least 30 hours of Chive programming each month. Atmosphere, however, is set to cost subscribers between $10 to $20 a month. Still, this is significantly less than the average business cable bill. The service will also include capabilities for the spaces in which Atmosphere is playing to seamlessly incorporate their own advertisements.

While Atmosphere only recently debuted in late 2018, I can already attest to the fact that I would much prefer “Escape TV” to the muted episodes of “Squawk Box” my gym is so fond of. Cheers.

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