Amy Winter of UP TV on the Marriage of Viewers and Brands

By UPtv / Aspire InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Amy Winter of UP TV on the Marriage of Viewers and Brands

There are TV weddings, such as that of the star of a cable network show marrying a prince of England, wedding-themed competitions and warm-hearted TV movies ending at the altar.  And then there are weddings on UP TV, a network whose very essence is tied to "Life's Biggest Moments," which aim to gift both viewers and advertisers with unique benefits.

Amy Winter, UP TV's Executive Vice President and General Manager (pictured above), spoke with us about what makes Our Wedding Story and Crazy Beautiful Weddings, both premiering this week, different from other bridal-related programming.

Kathy Newberger:  What makes these shows unique from a viewer's perspective and how did they come about?

Amy Winter:  Timothy Kuryak, who is our head of unscripted programming, and I had been talking for quite some time about focusing on those big life moments, and what that would look like.  We wanted to make sure that we approached weddings in a way that was new and modern, and in the positive, uplifting spirit that viewers expect from UP TV.

We almost called Our Wedding Story "Our Love Story," because that's what it feels like -- a love story.  It's shown in such a cinematic way, with such care, that I don't think there's anything like it on television right now.  The producers started out as musicians and made music videos, but to pay the bills they started working as wedding cinematographers.  Timothy was stunned by the quality of their work and asked if they'd ever contemplated creating a show.  They were turned off by "reality TV" and were "not interested in doing that or putting our couples through reality television, either."  Timothy convinced them to check out the programming we do, the brand and what we stand for.  They did, and it's been a great, pun intended, marriage, because they're delivering exactly the type of show that we all wanted to have.  The stories we've been able to find are amazing -- viewers will see an adventurous couple in Fiji, a DIY-er bride and groom marry in a Savannah square, and an incredible love story all featured in the first few episodes.

With Crazy Beautiful Weddings it's all about what goes into wedding planning and design in a very hand-made way.  It features a wedding planner with a great personality who's a lot of fun, and I love how her team gives her a hard time.  It's also fun to see the couple's vision emerge.  The show feels like Pinterest come to life!

Newberger:  What makes these shows unique from a business perspective?

Winter:  The wedding genre -- and the baby genre -- are proven performers; they're timeless.  But we've updated our storytelling along the way to make sure that we're representing the times we're in.  We felt validated through the pitching, through the development meetings with ad sales, that our message was being well-received.  I've spent the better part of the first half of the year on the road with our ad sales team.  I see the media people nod a lot when they hear about our brand and what we're trying to do, and we're offering opportunities that resonate with the brands they represent.

When I got to UP, I was really aggressive about multi-platform and ensuring the content we received from production companies supported that.  With every episode that's delivered, we get additional webisodes that are built out of those episodes.  Our digital and social teams also have exclusive content that goes beyond the actual episode each week.  If a brand wants to sponsor the director's cut and have exclusive content talking to the producers about each episode, we can do that.  The programming team works closely with our client solutions partnership team to let them know what we're producing, and to discuss what advertisers need and how we can help them find the right fit.

Also, we have a streaming service called UP Faith and Family and the series run there digitally after the premiere window on linear.  We see great upside for that service when these shows roll out, too.

Newberger:  It seems like lately people are hungry for connection and for gatherings and reunions of all kinds.  Is that part of what makes weddings right for UP, right now?

Winter:  There are a couple of reasons why we're at this great point to start this genre on our air.  Weddings and babies [UP's Expecting, for example] are the first two categories that we've rolled out, because they are easy to understand, they are great television for people to see, and, yes, there's a need for them right now.  They showcase our positive and uplifting programming and are like the Super Bowl of life's moments.  But we anticipate plans to roll out into other categories that fit more of Life's Biggest Moments, all of which dovetail nicely to our docuseries like Bringing Up Bates,letting viewers experience the family journey.

Our Wedding Story and Crazy Beautiful Weddings premiere on UP TV on Friday June 22.

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