Cancer-focused media company SurvivorNet has launched a linear over-the-top (OTT) streaming network, SurvivorNetTV.

The network features content about cancer survivors, mental health, body image, cancer research, celebrity stories and more. Prior to the launch, SurvivorNet had invested in creating more than 1,000 short-form documentaries online for its audience. Founder and CEO Steve Alperin said those videos were so well-liked that the logical next step was compiling them all into one service.

“We’ve featured regular people, some famous people and some content about science. That body of work really has resonated with the 2 million people a month coming to,” Alperin said. “We knew this stuff was as good or better than a lot of content on broadcast TV, let alone OTT streaming.”

SurvivorNetTV (SNTV) is available on SurvivorNet’s website and through streaming providers like Roku, AppleTV and Amazon. Alperin said the company is also working with health systems and telemedicine providers to make it available on their screens. 

Alperin said there is a huge opportunity in telemedicine right now, with many health systems relying on it while the public is staying home. Hospital TV screens are also an area SurvivorNet wants to get into, to provide comforting and inspirational content to people staying in hospitals.

SurvivorNet is also in talks with local broadcast stations. The company has traditional 22-minute blocks that can easily be syndicated to local stations and help reach and educate cancer patients in areas that might not have access to a top cancer hospital.

“There is a huge opportunity now to program all of the new screens which healthcare is now relying on, by which I mean telemedicine screens,” Alperin said. “There is also an enormous chance to do a better job to offer programming and stories to people who are in the hospital. Those are audiences that need comfort. Our version of OTT goes further; we consider OTT to be telemedicine, hospitals and anywhere we can reach people who need hope and inspiration.”

SurvivorNet is also working with advertisers on SNTV. For companies that want to reach the cancer community, SNTV provides a direct line. The first priority was creating great content for SurvivorNet’s audience, but the company wants to provide opportunities for the pharma industry and advertisers as well.

“When we offer up an emotional experience that is good for human beings in this community in a totally brand safe environment with high quality content, it’s a really powerful place,” Alperin said. “We want the right industry partners to know we have endemic opportunities to get people in video content that elicits an emotion and a way to reach people who care a lot about cancer.”

The content is focused on stories of cancer patients, survivors and researchers, but Alperin believes the audience can extend beyond that niche, especially during an uncertain time like a global pandemic.

The main audience is intended for people with cancer and their caregivers, but the stories of hope and struggle on SNTV can resonate with anyone.

“There’s nobody in healthcare doing storytelling like this,” Alperin said. “The cool thing about doing what we’re doing in cancer is you don’t have to say the words authentic or storytelling. The stakes are as high as they’re going to get, the human drama is as real as it’s going to get.”

“The world needs a media product about people who are surviving. This moment is the biggest PTSD moment in history because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our content is for people who want stories about hope and survival,” he added.

In fact, SurvivorNet sped up the launch of SNTV due to the coronavirus. With its main audience of cancer patients and survivors being forced to stay home, Alperin said it was sped up to “help people feel a little less alone.”

“That’s what we do,” he said. “It’s about offering comfort and helping people make better decisions.”