Quick Breaks is a daily column from the VideoInk editorial staff, which rounds up and features interesting developments in the larger digital video space that we feel you should be at least somewhat aware of. Have tips or suggestions for more Quick Breaks? Send them over to [email protected].
FremantleMedia is replenishing its game-show YouTube channel, Buzzr, with new programming. Season two programming for the channel, which features reformatted versions of iconic game shows owned and distributed by FMNA, will begin premiering on April 28. Shot at YouTube Space LA, season two will feature the series “Body Language,” hosted by Cynthia LuCiette of All Def Digital, and “Beat the Clock,” hosted by Elliott Morgan of Mashable.
Hulu has made a multi-year licensing deal with Turner Broadcasting through which Hulu will get exclusive VOD rights to series from Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TNT, and TBS. Specifically, Hulu will get episodes of “Rick and Morty” and “Black Jesus” from Adult Swim, “The Amazing World of Gumball” and “Over the Garden Wall” from Cartoon Network, and “The Last Ship” and “Murder in the First” from TNT. Hulu’s getting exclusive VOD rights to future series from the networks, as well.
Amazon has ordered a pilot from Bob Nelson, the writer behind feature film “Nebraska,” as first reported by Deadline. The pilot is for “Highston,” a comedy series with half-hour episodes that will be directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (both of “Little Miss Sunshine”). It’s currently in the casting phase. “Highston” will follow the 19-year-old star (named Highston) as he begins to enter adulthood. The series will be executive produced by Nelson, Sacha Baron Cohen and Todd Schulman of Four By Two Films, Todd Hoffman and Bob Friedman of Bungalow Media + Entertainment, and the two directors.
Univision’s Flama network has released a new scripted comedy called “Empty Spaces,” which centers on two real-estate agents who must find eccentric tenants for the most undesirable spaces in Los Angeles. The series, which stars YouTuber Nikki Limo and Vine star Oscar Miranda, spans six episodes, with each installment running for 2–5 minutes. New episodes will debut on Flama every Thursday.
The “Insidious” franchise is offerings its fans a virtual reality experience with Oculus Rift. Called “Into the Further 4D Experience,” it’s set to get people excited for the June release of “Insidious: Chapter 3” and takes the form of a “haunted house” that includes IRL experiences in addition to VR ones. The experience is going on tour starting April 24 in Chicago and passing through Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas before ending in New York City on June 7. Check here for dates.
Institutional Venture Partners, the venture firm that once invested in the likes of Google, Netflix, Snapchat, Twitter, and ComScore, has raised $1.4 billion to fund new technology and media companies that “are addressing large market opportunities.” It’s the largest fund raised in the firm’s 35-year history and brings its cumulative committed capital to $5.4 billion. With the new fund, IVP, which focuses on later-stage investments, says it plans to invest $10-to-$100 million per company in 12 to 15 businesses per year.
Collective Digital Studio is expanding into Canada, its third largest territory in terms of views. The MCN has opened its first office outside of the US, in Toronto, and has hired former Blue Ant Media executive Jordan Bortolotti to lead operations there as EVP of Canada. In the role, he will be responsible for growing CDS’ talent roster as well as identifying and building relationships with advertisers North of the Border. Canadian creators already in CDS’ network include Harley Morenstein of “Epic Meal Time,” Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman), and Matthew Santoro.
Speaking of CDS, the company has also signed Pitchfork to its network. The music website’s YouTube channel, which has close to 380,000 subscribers, offers a wide range of content including documentaries, music performance videos, animated series, and various live streams. As part of the deal, CDS will oversee audience development for the channel, while CDS and Pitchfork will co-sell advertising for the channel.
Mobile video-sharing startup Ferris has received $2 million in funding from Allen DeBevoise* and Upfront Ventures. The app, available on iOS, lets users stitch together videos taken at different times to create a single video story — kind of like Snapchat Stories but they don’t have to have been taken consecutively. Also, the videos don’t have to even exist on the same platform. Ferris lets users stitch together their mobile videos from, say, Periscope and Vine. Ferris launched on iOS roughtly a month ago.
The BBC, which had originally planned to convert its youth channel, BBC3, into an entirely digital offering this fall, will now carry out this initiative in 2016. The BBC is waiting for BBC Trust’s approval on the decision to put BBC3 online, and the Trust isn’t due to make its decision until at least June. This doesn’t provide enough time for BBC’s youth channel to launch online by the fall.
Machinima is beefing up its presence in New York with the hiring of Jessica DBiase Stevens and Michael B. Colarossi as directors of partner development. Both will report to Machinima CRO Jamie Weissenborn. “NY reigns supreme as the media spend capital of the US and we have hired experienced sales leaders to expand our presence in this critical marketplace,” Weissenborn said in a statement. “Michael and Jessica have a track record of helping brands connect with millennials through authentic video storytelling. Their talents will help Machinima continue to set the standard for successful co-productions that benefit both our brand partners and massive fandom/gamer audience.”
Andy Schuon has joined the Mark Cuban-backed social video startup Ocho to help shape its content strategy and expand media, brand, and creator relationships — especially in Los Angeles. Schuon is a long-time media veteran, best known as the co-founder of Revolt TV (the music network launched by Sean “Puffy” Combs) and former chief digital officer of Ticketmaster/Live Nation.
* Allen DeBevoise is also an investor in VideoInk.