Vator uncovered: VanuatuTV explores a small, sun-baked niche

John Shinal · March 11, 2008 · Short URL:

Continuing this week's newsroom project to uncover offbeat online TV sites, today we bring you the pitch for Vanuatu TV.

Few people had ever heard of the Pacific Island island nation before the CBS network decided to film its ninth season of the hit series "Survivor" there.

Now, just as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy stoked interest in New Zealand, and let to a proliferation of billboards extolling the beauty of the kiwi nation, Survivor has led to enough excitement about Vanuatu to spawn an online video channel. 

The small island nation is called the "Happiest Nation on Earth" by presenters Grant Abbott and Amelia Armistead, and when the words are delivered in those sunny Aussie accents, you can't help but believe them.

The startup's Web site looks like something the Vanuatu Tourism Office might have done, plus polished and smooth videos about the island's culture.

Just as yesterday's featured pitch, CrushTV, might be the future of college TV -- raw and unpolished -- Vanuatu TV could be part of a trend where those in the private tourist trade use a TV show to promote interest and economic development.

I'm not sure what the business model is, but the content sure is pleasant. 

Can there be a new media company exploring a smaller niche, at least geographically?

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