DCNF: Maker Studios Pitches [email protected] to Co-Create with Brands and Producers

/ May 6, 2014


Maker.TV was not the only big announcement made by Maker Studios at its first-ever Newfront presentation. The company also unveiled [email protected], a new venture aimed at connecting brands and creative partners with Maker’s production team and talent to co-create content.

At launch, five partners are on board: will.i.am, who inked a deal with Maker earlier this year to co-produce original content; Robert Kirkman, author of the graphic novel that inspired the AMC hit “The Walking Dead,” and his company Skybound; actor James Franco’s production company Rabbit Bandini; skateboarding star Nyjah Huston; and, as the only brand so far, Pepsi.

Kirkman will focus on developing and producing original shows made for the web — which would ostensibly live on Maker.TV.

Pepsi, which has an existing marketing partnership with Maker Studios (as evidenced by this prank video in support of the Pepsi-sponsored Super Bowl halftime show) will work with Maker to regularly create branded content. This includes topical solo videos as well as real-time content to participate in conversations that are already happening on social media, according to an earlier WSJ report.

Pepsi will also integrate its brand into videos created by Maker talent.

If Pepsi and Maker find success as Labs partners, it’s conceivable that other brands would want to sign on to the offering, allowing them to create their own content and be part of a conversation, instead of only sponsoring and buying media against other people’s content.

That said, Maker Studios has also secured an upfront deal with Omnicom Media Group for advertising and sponsorships. The agreement includes an ad-buying commitment reportedly in the low eight-figure range.

That’s not all, though. Omnicom will also enlist a new tool called Maker Offers, which aims to make it easier for brands and creators to work together. Via Maker Offers, Maker will send brand briefs, assets, and scripts to the network all at once. Creators can then choose to include a brand message into their videos. Brands will be able to approve these videos online without needing to directly talk to the talent or Maker.

It’s an attempt to “scale” branded entertainment, which is popular among the YouTube creator set. These videos don’t require talent to give a 45% cut to YouTube as bought media would. By scaling this capability, Maker hopes to attract advertisers on an offering that’s becoming more and more popular on YouTube.

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