I want my DTC TV? Shopify debuts reality TV show

Digiday 18 Aug 2020 04:00
August 18, 2020 by Tim Peterson

Shopify has been on a roll, with its business of powering retailer websites expanding during the coronavirus crisis — and its market cap up 148% since the start of the year. Now, in an unusual move, the e-commerce platform has ambitions to break into TV.

On Aug. 18, Shopify’s production arm Shopify Studios will debut its first TV show, an eight-episode reality series called “I Quit” that follows individuals who have quit their jobs to start their own businesses and will air on Discovery. However, aside from the role of Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein as one of the show’s mentors, the series will not be larded with Shopify’s branding or promotion of its platform. In fact, the series will be “completely unbranded,” said Sarah North, a TV and digital video production veteran who joined the company as head of Shopify Studios in September 2019.

Formed in January 2019, Shopify Studios is focused on developing and producing unscripted shows and films to air on TV networks and streaming services. Among the projects in the works is a feature-length documentary that will not feature Shopify’s brand nor any merchants that use its e-commerce platform, North said. One sign of how much of Shopify Studios’ work is marketing would be whether the studio is organized within the company’s marketing department. It’s not. Instead Shopify Studios operates as its own business line and reports directly to the company’s COO.

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