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What Are Your Customers Watching While They Wait? Learn How To Improve Your Business's Atmosphere. Blake Sabatinelli, the CEO of Atmosphere, explains the growth of the streaming television platform built for businesses.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • Atmosphere TV is a way for businesses to use their screens to better engage customers using audio-free video from notable publishers. The channels are curated for a dynamic “out-of-home experience” for guests.
  • COVID caused many businesses to change course. As many of their partner locations were shut down, CEO Blake Sabatinelli explored having Atmosphere TV break into new industries to success.
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Do you sometimes sit in a waiting room or at the bar and wonder what to look at?

Atmosphere TV was created to get your attention (and entertain you too) in those moments with a curated stream of engaging, audio-free video content.

Blake Sabatinelli is the CEO of Atmosphere, the world's largest streaming television platform for businesses. "It's a pretty simple premise," Sabatinelli told Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. "We make TV for businesses."

Related: How the Owner of an Award-Winning Restaurant Brand Beat the Odds and Found Success

Atmosphere is about crafting an engaging out-of-home experience tailored for businesses across various industries.

By curating a diverse range of audio-less channels, covering everything from live sports to animal antics to America's Funniest Home Videos, Atmosphere ensures that every business can curate the perfect "atmosphere" for its patrons, far beyond traditional programming. Their content is shown in places all over the world.

"We've done just about everything you can think of," said Sabatinelli. "Frankly, we have a channel for every environment, and we do that because everyone has their own tastes, everyone has their own atmosphere within their businesses, and that is a pun that's intended."

Related: Chef Says This Is the No. 1 Thing That Makes a Restaurant Successful or Not

The fuel behind Atmosphere comes down to one of the most powerful things around these days: engaging content.

Atmosphere teamed up with Red Bull to present the X Games Aspen Live on their platform so venues could air it for their patrons as it was happening, instead of later as clips. "Red Bull is an amazing partner to us in so many ways. They were one of the first groups to really place a bet on this little company based out of Austin, Texas."

Sabatinelli saw the power of partnerships first-hand when the CEO heard comedian Bert Kreischer tell a story on his popular podcast about watching the X Games live at a California bar that has Atmosphere TV.

Bert thought the Red Bull-sponsored extreme sports event looked like so much fun he went out and bought a ticket to the X Games the next day. All because he saw it on Atmosphere.

Growing Atmosphere into a global company has required hard work and big decisions. In the face of adversity brought on by the pandemic, Atmosphere pivoted and expanded its reach to find new opportunities in sectors like doctor's offices and auto shops. The places where people have to wait and could use some entertainment.

"We moved our business to not just focus on bars and restaurants," he said, "but bars and restaurants and other locations that have intentionality of viewership and significant dwell time."

This strategic shift underscores Sabatinelli's commitment to adapting to evolving market conditions and meeting the needs of diverse businesses. "Finding a way to get the people to take a breath and enjoy the experience around them, it's just such a no-brainer and such a huge opportunity for a business like ours."

Building An Advertising Platform

The Atmosphere platform is also an advertising network in addition to a content publisher.

"The ability to light up a campaign — in a way like you do on Google or on Meta now — to drive results for your business is something we spent a lot of time making sure we could do," he says. "But beyond that, we spent a lot of time making sure we got it right."

Related: How The Nourish Spot Is Building a Legacy of Healthy Eating and Community Connection

Sabatinelli believes there's a big opportunity to help empower small businesses to drive value and awareness with price-competitive advertising depending on their goals and budget.

"One of the areas we're most excited about is not just growing out the national advertising platform as a whole, but also building something of scale and opportunity for restaurant operators like yourself to go and make sure you can drive foot traffic and make money," the Atmosphere CEO says. "Because as a person who likes to go out to eat, nothing makes me happier than a restaurant making money."

About Restaurant Influencers

Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point-of-sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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