2 new television networks taking aim at vacationers and retirees

NEW YORK (AP) – August may be a time for kicking back, but not for two entrepreneurs busy with startup television networks catering to people who’ve stepped out of life’s fast lane.

A developer of retirement communities is launching a new network on Sept. 5 for that demographic. Initial programming on Retirement Living includes “The Doctor’s Hour,” with geriatric experts taking phone calls from viewers about their aches and pains.

Meanwhile, Plum TV is planning further expansion of a loosely built network of channels that tell vacationers in Nantucket, the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Vail, Aspen and Telluride where the action is.

What both have in common are driving forces who know more about the niche audiences they’re trying to reach than the television business — something they both consider an advantage.

“We’re the people who say `why not?'” said Tom Scott, founder of Plum TV.

Scott and a college buddy one summer sold homemade juice off a boat to vacationers moored in Nantucket’s harbor, building that into the company Nantucket Nectars. They sold a majority stake to Ocean Spray for $70 million in 1997 then realized another windfall — estimated at $20 million — when it was swallowed up by Cadbury-Schweppes in 2002.