Sometimes in the process of covering the online video business, it’s easy to get caught up with the ever-growing YouTube universe, and forget the producers and creators that are doing some interesting things away from the world’s biggest video site.
Not that Believe Entertainment Group and the team behind it, the latest subject of our ongoing “5 Questions” series, are strangers to YouTube. While at their former studio (Media Rights Capital), BE co-founders Dan Goodman and William H. Masterson III were behind “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy,” a series of web comedy shorts that launched on YouTube in the fall of 2008. BE is also behind several shows that are currently available on YouTube. It’s just that BE has received a lot more recognition in recent years for what it has done away from YouTube, including an animated series in partnership with and starring NBA superstar LeBron James (“The LeBrons,” which just debuted its second season on MSN and Xbox); an EDM-based original series on Twitter (“EpicEDM”); and a partnership with Jennifer Lopez to produce a pop culture show for young audiences on AOL’s Cambio property (“Tiger Beat Entertainment”). The team also recently announced game show “Money Where Your Mouth Is” hosted by Jay Mohr.
VideoInk spoke with the Believe Entertainment team on the company and their outlook on the online video industry.
Contributed by Dan Goodman, William H. Masterson III and Danny Fishman, Partners at Believe Entertainment Group (BE).
1. What are you most looking forward to seeing happen in online video by the end of 2013?
More partners willing to invest in great content. We’ve been a financing vehicle from the start and have always invested our own capital in the best content we can find. It’s encouraging to see others really starting to commit and putting great content first and foremost.
2. If the online video industry was a baseball game, what inning are we in and why?
Wish it was the seventh-inning stretch because at the rate we’re all going we could really use a beer right about now! But honestly, it’s more like the bottom of the second. It’s starting to warm up but we have a lot of game left. We’re just now seeing business in all sectors, with studios, advertisers and distribution companies all for the first time realizing the impact digital entertainment can make.
3. What’s the “800lb gorilla” of the online video space? And how do we get past him?
Mostly we feel like we just need more people participating, taking risks and finding wins. There have to be more examples of great successes to help encourage others to participate and for meaningful dollars to grow into this category. We’re getting there and it’s encouraging to see the progress now more than ever.
4. What is the biggest misperception of our industry?
There is a strange dynamic that happens in digital entertainment where advertisers are looking for “never done before” ideas that sometimes prevents them from being part of successful digital projects. Whereas in television everyone wants to be part of “hit” shows, at times people in digital video feel like if it’s already out there it’s no longer fresh. We have to mature as an industry where marketers understand the benefit of growing with a property and taking it to the next level. The strategic benefit of owning and engaging key audiences applies even more to the digital world where we can drive deeper levels of participation and build meaningful connections over time; it’s just a function of how they evolve in digital. We have to get out of this “innovation for innovation’s sake” cycle before we’re really going to take advantage of everything this massive shift in audience has to offer.
5. Who do you think is killing it in online video (aside from yourself, of course!)?
Really like what Xbox is doing to make inroads into the living room. They’re focusing on cross-platform opportunities that seem to resonate with their audiences. Also very interested to see how Netflix builds on their original content strategy. They’ve had some terrific content that is driving the platform and we think they’re planting an important
flag in premium content over digital channels that will benefit us all.