What began as a small-time, local-access television show, dubbed Disgusted TV, has grown into a formidable video-magazine series that produces nine issues a year.
Progression Video Magazine, led by Executive Producer Brian Meehan, is blurring the lines between magazine and video in the surf, skate, and snow markets. The concept is nothing new — 411 has been making skate-video magazines since 1993 — but San Clemente-based Progression is taking it a step further.
This spring, Progression launched the Five Air Challenge, a an anti-contest contest that’s designed to take aerial surfing to new heights. Instead of rewarding surfers for pumping out mechanical, three-to-the-beach turns, the challenge lets surfers pair up with filmers and submit video of their five best airs — from anywhere, anytime. Kids pick the winners by voting online.
“We wanted the surfers to go out and film their airs,” says Meehan. “I don’t believe in contests that much. I think they make you conform your surfing. I like people to be able to go out and do whatever they want and not get criticized for it.”
This year’s winner will get 10,000 dollars; the filmer gets 2,000 dollars.
Along with the Five Air Challenge, Progression is running a surf-shop contest called Friends of Progression. Whichever shop sells the most Progression videos will win a free twenty-second advertisement produced by Progression in an upcoming video. In addition, the shop will have rights to the spot to use at their disposal (there’s usually a 500-dollar buyout fee).
So why hold this sort of contest and go to the length of producing a 2,000-dollar commercial pro bono? “We just want to show these shops that we appreciate them pushing our product, getting it out there, and getting kids hyped on us,” says Meehan.
Progression has produced more than 50 commercials and a music video for MCA records for Common. While more companies are becoming receptive to the video-magazine concept, Meehan says he’s stoked on the support he’s gotten from current sponsors like O’Neill, Osiris, ZZYZX, Lost, and Arnette.
Next year, the eight-person Progression crew plans to release four surf titles, four skate videos, and its first snow-only movie. “We’re going to be slammed this year, but it’s work we love to do,” says Meehan.