FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The management team launching Ocean Network includes, from left, Ken Sanders, chairman; Kevin Robinson, chief financial officer; T.J. Malievsky, CEO and president; Bill Henderson, development vice president; and Michael Shishido, programming vice president. CLICK FOR LARGE
Ocean will get its own television network
The network will debut on Monday on Oceanic Cable Channel 349
An ambitious plan to conquer the world is being hatched in Honolulu, by the founders of Ocean Network LLC.
The executives are planning a cable channel, a Web presence complete with e-commerce, and mobile delivery of programming and information.
But first, the network about all things ocean, above and below the surface, will start small, here at home with testing to begin Monday on Oceanic Time Warner Cable Channel 349.
Ocean Network's founders are J. Kenneth Sanders, a former ad agency honcho and inventor, and "Surfer" Joe Teipel, best known for another company he founded and later sold, Surf News Network.
Ocean Network's shows will be centered around education, recreation and information about the ocean. It won't just be about the Pacific Ocean, though that will likely be the biggest star of the Hawaii-based network.
"Our intent is to make (the network) work here in Hawaii, first and well," said T.J. Malievsky, president and chief executive officer. He, Sanders and Teipel are listed as principals of the business.
Some networks start with a base of 20-million viewers nationally and expand, while very few build brick-by-brick.
Once the Ocean Network gets its sea legs, or in this case, air legs, "we'll roll it out to coastal cities on the mainland and abroad as we mature," Malievsky said.
Ocean Network principals raised enough funding from investors over the summer to get the company through this month, Sanders said.
The team has been invited to make a presentation to the Hawaii Angels venture capital organization on Friday, which is something not every startup can do, Sanders said.
"We expect for that (funding event) to take us into the full year of 2007, and that then will become mixed in with self-supporting revenue," such as advertising dollars and other income, he said.
Ocean Network will be getting on the air for about $100,000, "which is a rarity for TV," Malievsky said. It will use a delivery system that is becoming increasingly popular in Asia: Shows will be sent over the Internet from the network's downtown offices to Oceanic's equipment for distribution to digital subscribers.
Some shows will be local, such as a program featuring extreme local water sports. Some will be from elsewhere in the United States or other countries. Malievsky went shopping at MIPCOM -- an annual October trade show in France -- for content providers, buyers and distribution companies from around the world.
He brought back information on shows for consideration by his colleagues, including Michael Shishido, vice president of programming.
Ocean Network will begin airing six hours of shows a day that will repeat. Programming will expand over time to include an increasing percentage of local shows from various sources.
The company has had conversations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant program to provide educational programming.
Both bodies have miles of footage that can be used for shows to spread the word about the new Northwest Hawaiian Island Marine Sanctuary, ocean conservation, and careers in marine biology.
One former ocean scientist better known for his political years, former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, is also on the network's advisory committee and will turn up as a host at some point.
Any political controversy surrounding Harris doesn't bother Sanders.
"I don't consider him a hot potato ... he's passionate about the ocean, just as we are," he said. Harris was a trained environmentalist and a leader of the Sea Grant program before he began his political career, Sanders said.
Pitches from local producers are being entertained. Ocean Network will purchase programming rather than sell blocks of time it can control the distribution, Malievsky said.
That will also enable Ocean Network to retain the right to sell all of its own advertising time, rather than have show producers sell commercial slots during their own time periods, such as occurs on Oceanic's OC16.
Ocean Network's Web site, www.oceannetwork.tv, is being built by Sanders' son John, with plans for streaming video, user-generated content, e-commerce opportunities and links to educational sites and organizations focused on ocean conservation.
The e-commerce possibilities are endless, according to Bill Henderson, network vice president of business development. His more-than-30-year career in Hawaii's travel industry included involvement in Outrigger Hotels & Resorts' expansion to the South Pacific.
Henderson said that the Web site should be up and running early next month. The network already has a deal with a cruise aggregator, in which it will receive payment for click-throughs from its site to the travel portal.
Considering the vastness of the world's oceans and seas and all that people do on and in the water, "over time, there is a significant revenue opportunity there."