- Carnival Corporation launched an over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming TV channel called OceanView, available on 60 of its 103 ships along with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, according to Business Insider.
- The cruise line is also adding two new original digital series. Carnival already has four original show franchises that have appeared on TV networks including NBC, ABC and A&E Networks. The more than 80 episodes of those shows will air on OceanView.
- OceanView isn't about "cheesy brand or product placement," John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer at Carnival Corporation, told Business Insider, adding that Carnival has gone from zero original content to over 100 episodes of original content in a little over a year. To promote OceanView, the cruise company had a live booth and digital billboards in New York City's Times Square along with Facebook Live streamed videos from Carnival execs. The brand is working with media companies including BuzzFeed to create and promote upcoming episodes of original content.
As the line between advertising and entertainment continues to blur, initiatives like OceanView are becoming more common. Carnival already has a healthy slate of original programming in production but being able to own all of it on one OTT channel and serve it directly to both passengers on its cruises and viewers at home gives the brand more comprehensive control over the content pipeline.
The news points to how brands are working to accommodate the growing consumption of digital video, a trend spurred by the meteoric rise of services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video in recent years. Carnival has a natural affinity for creating shows, being embedded in the travel and experience category viewers like to watch. Competitor Royal Caribbean has also steered toward more original digital video initiatives: Earlier this summer, in June, it launched a limited-run Snapchat series called "SeaSeekers" that equipped scuba divers with Snap Spectacles for immersive underwater viewing.
Carnival more broadly has been attempting to digitally transform the cruise experience. This year, it's been working with the consultancy Accenture on an interactive guest platform that includes a wearable device called the Ocean Medallion, a digital portal called the Ocean Compass and a network of Internet of Things devices designed to help passengers get the most out of their vacations.