By Tom T. Moore
Recently I was flown to Denver, Colorado to record two, back-to-back one-hour interviews with Gaiam TV about my three The Gentle Way books and my FIRST CONTACT: Conversations with an ET book. The first interview aired on February 4. I thought everyone might like to know more about this streaming subscription, Internet TV network. They will never compete for the large number of subscribers Netflix has. Instead, they have chosen to be a niche streaming service specializing in inspirational, spiritual (not religious), paranormal, UFOs, astrology, yoga, and exercise topics.
Perhaps you’ve bought one of their many products offered on their website at Gaiam.com or in one of over 40,000 retail locations. The name Gaiam was a combination of Gaia, soul of the earth, and I Am. They are a publicly traded company (GAIA). Their headquarters building in Louisville (next to Boulder) is quite large; it houses the warehouse for their sales of clothing, home goods, wellness, fitness, yoga and videos, along with corporate offices and Gaiam TV. Their latest SEC filing that I read lists their assets at just under $190 million, so this company is not a “flash-in-the-pan-gone-tomorrow” business.
Gaiam was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1988 by Jirka Rysavy. His vision was to serve the “conscious consumer”, a group subsequently named the “Cultural Creative’s” by sociologist Paul Ray in 1996. Gaiam states they are working to establish a new conscious media genre and distribution channels for filmmakers and artists who want to make a difference. Joining other genres like classics, drama and action, conscious media includes feature films, documentaries, edutainment and personal development programs that they believe will inspire all of us to expand our awareness, pursue positive change in our lives and grow more connected to each other and to the planet.
Originally a catalog business, Gaiam now has products in stores worldwide. In 2001 Gaiam merged with Real Goods Solar, a California-based company specializing in the production and distribution of solar power systems, other renewable energy equipment, and off-grid/sustainable living products. They recently sold the majority of shares in this company for $18 million, retaining about 12% ownership
In 2012 they bought Vivendi Entertainment for $13 million and combined their video library with Gaiam’s into the GVE division. In October of 2013, they sold the GVE division, excluding the health and wellness programs, to Cinedigm for $51 million. Then on November 8, 2013, Gaiam announced that it had acquired My Yoga Online, with over 200,000 subscribers (my best guess) and 1,000 Yoga and fitness videos, giving them over 6,000 programs to offer on their own service at $9.95 per month. As they do not reveal how many subscribers they have, after analyzing their SEC filing it appears their subscribers would be north of 500,000, but quite a bit less than 1,000,000.
Each month Gaiam TV licenses a number of mostly non-theatrical programs to add to their library, plus they produce at least 24 new interviews in their own studios, all of which are exclusive to Gaiam TV. They have several recognizable hosts such as George Noory of Coast to Coast AM, David Wilcock and his Wisdom Teachings, Robert Phoenix’s Astrological forecasts, and Regina Meredith, who many recognize from the Conscious Media Network, which was also acquired by Gaiam TV.
Regina Meredith interviewed me, and I found her to be one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve run across in metaphysics. She really packed a lot of questions into the two one-hour interviews I did with her. Regina says her modus operandi is to interview people with interesting information, not necessarily those who are household names, although she certainly has her share.
Gaiam TV is not without its growing problems. In my estimation the website is still not user friendly. When you click on “Original Programs”, you have to scroll and scroll to see who has been interviewed. During my meeting with Andrea Scott, head of marketing, I recommended listing all of the people they’ve interviewed on the left side of the page. Even better would be to have links from each name to their interviews. Hopefully they can implement this in the near future, or design something even better. I believe it will help sell their service, if prospective subscribers can see the names of people they recognize in one location.
And how many of you reading this article has heard of Gaiam TV? They need to do a better job of spreading the word that a streaming TV service just for spiritual minded people exists. You would think there would not be a problem in budgeting some advertising dollars, but perhaps they’ve been too busy in their sales and acquisitions to turn their focus on publicizing Gaiam TV. More subscribers will allow them to license more programs and create more of their own original programming – not necessarily in their studio, but out on location. You can view promos of their programs, but you have to sign up for a 10-day free trial to view whole programs.
The bottom line is: I believe they will become a significant force to bring truly unique programming to anyone who wishes to make positive changes not only for their health and spirituality, but also for their communities and the planet.
*Tom T. Moore is an entertainment industry CEO, speaker, frequent radio guest, and author of the three “The Gentle Way” books and “First Contact: Conversations with an ET, plus a weekly newsletter and blog – www.thegentlewaybook.com.