JEWZY.TV exec expanding global Jewish streaming service reach
By ALAN SMASON
If JOTT TV CEO Jeremy Wootliff has his way about it, JEWZY.TV, his Jewish streaming service with high end movies, news and other features, will be a part of every Jewish home worldwide.
His vision has taken him to the United States first because it is, after all, the world’s biggest TV market, but he is moving into phase two of his operations and setting up the new service in his home in the United Kingdom, a place where it is a much tougher sell than in America.
And in Israel, the place which might prove to be the greatest source of his support, the press has been all abuzz about JEWZY TV, but the service won’t be launched there until next year at the earliest.
Wootliff, a former award winning senior producer for CBS TV, would like to have everyone think about JEWZY.TV as more than a “Jewish Netflix.”
“We are exactly the same as Netflix, but we do not pretentiously suggest in any way that we are in competition with them,” he said in a phone interview with the CCJN. “We’re not.”
Wootliff admitted that both require the download of an application to their smart TVs, but that’s where the similarities end, he said. “The average American household has seven streaming apps and, most importantly, what’s becoming very popular is that people have their own special interest app,” he explained.
That means most households will subscribe to HBO, Amazon Prime, Showtime, Netflix, Paramount+ and Disney+ , but then reserve a subscription service for their own special interests.
“There isn’t is a TV app for mainstream, Jewish, Hollywood-to-Israel titles that has A-listed stars, that has all the good things that we do to bring to your Jew-ish interests,” Wootliff noted. “And you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy what we do or to understand what we do.”
Wootliff and his team have created an impressive lineup for those who subscribe to the JEWZY.TV streaming service at $7.99 per month or $59.99 per year. The service launched in the U.S. in December and offers a free seven-day period to get to test the service out prior to paying for a subscription. Subscribers are not locked into a contract and can cancel at anytime, he said.
“Part of what we’re doing is we’re providing something for everyone,” he continued. “It’s very important because part of the ethos is that we want to attract all kinds of people who are interested in Jewishness.”
Wootliff stressed that the channel is not specifically religious, political or secular in its outlook. Because of its Israeli content, it may find interest among Christian Evangelicals, for example. “We’re not a Jewish TV channel,” he explained. “That’s because we are Jew-ish and the name is by no means an accident.”
JEWZY.TV has gone to huge lengths to lease titles of works with themes that are of interest to the Jewish world, but also to non-Jews who are looking for Jewish material. That means making some choices.
“We’re just authentic. We just do what we feel is right for Jews and the Jewish people,” he mused. JEWZY.TV is unabashedly pro-Israel, a no-brainer he said.
Some of the titles on JEWZY.TV may involve partial nudity or excessive violence, but it important they not give in to the dictates of religious observant groups, whether Jewish or not, Wootliff added.
“We want to make being Jewish cool, exciting, positive and we can’t do that by being full of faith and orthodoxy. We can include that, but the massive American Jews are not ‘ultra-Orthodox’ and, if they are, they’re probably not watching much TV,” he pointed out. “I’m not going to water it down to pander to that segment.”
As to bowing to Evangelical Christians or others, Wootliff believes JEWZY.TV needs to march to its own drumbeat. “If you want to watch Christian channels, there are many,” he indicated.
According to Wootliff, 95% of JEWZY TV’s content is leased from third parties at great expense. “There is an addressable market for this content,” he boasted.
But, unlike cable companies and broadcasters, JEWZY TV can tell what titles are popular and which ones are not being watched because of analytics and the platform they utilize. They can add or subtract titles or services as they move forward. The cost of the platform is borne by a technology firm they pay. “They make life very simple for us,” Wooliff said. “We are only responsible for the content. The technology is third party.”
In addition to first-run movies, JEWZY.TV will be offering the i24 English news service from Israel which features former New Orleanian Mike Waggenheim as a political reporter.
Wootliff has reached out to and secured partnerships with industry giants like AppleTV, Roku and Amazon’s FireTV. Eventually, he and his partners will begin to produce independent productions to be streamed over JEWZY.TV.
In alignment with the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, another unusual aspect of its present business model is the Jewish Alignment Program (JAP), a fundraising effort for Jewish federations, JCCs, synagogues and other institutions. Under the program, JEWZY.TV subscribers who sign up using a link from a specific Jewish organization get a $0.50 fee back to the organization for each continuing subscription. This could mean potential thousands to each organization every year, Wootliff said.
Also, the “Because We Give…” project of JEWZY.TV allows for free space on its platform for Jewish charities and organizations to self-promote specific causes. Subscribers can give directly through the streaming service and JEWZY.TV will not take a cut, according to Wootliff. “There is nothing to lose and everything to gain for good causes. It is a free service. Why? Because we care,” Wootliff concluded.
(Starting next week, the CCJN will be offering JEWZY.TV through its own link for potential subscribers.)