Maker Studios is planning to be very busy during the fall and winter seasons. The digital media company, known for working with its network of online video content creators, has announced a 15-show programming slate, as well as the relaunch of its gaming destination Polaris and its comedy hub The Station.
11 of the new programs will live on Polaris, which launched in 2013 as an evolution of Maker’s Game Station brand, while four more will arrive on The Station, which was previously known as Nacho Punch. As expected, several of these new shows will be led by some of the biggest stars within Maker’s network. As an example, Timothy DeLaGhetto andRicky Shucks (pictured above) will inhabit a time-travelling food truck in Thai Machine. Other creators will their own series in Maker’s upcoming initiative include The Gregory Brothers, Kali Muscle, and LuzuGames.
It’s not just Maker’s highest-profile partners, however, who are featured in the upcoming slate. The network is also working with the up-and-coming creators within its Spark program; they will fill out the casts for several of the shows Maker plans to premiere.
By making streaming content a top priority, Facebook has challenged YouTube’s supremacy in the online video world, but the latter platform still believes it is the best choice for advertisers. During its annual UK Brandcast event, YouTube took a swipe at Facebook by reminding attendees that its viewers continue “to watch, not scroll.”
That line, courtesy of Google exec Peter Cory, targets the fact that Facebook has a very low threshold for what it considers a view. Any user who watches a Facebook video for at least three seconds is counted as a viewer, even if that user only paused momentarily to glimpse a silent video playing in the middle of his or her newsfeed. As a result, while Facebook counts billions of views per day, the average watch time on Facebook is much less than on YouTube. In a 2015 blog post, Hank Green noted that 86% of his YouTube viewers make it past the 30-second mark, while only 21% of his Facebook viewers reach that point.
YouTube’s UK Brandcast presentation also targeted the silent nature of many Facebook views. Sound only turns on when a user decides to actively engage with a video, and according to a recent report from Digiday, 85% of Facebook video views occur with no volume. On the other hand, YouTube proudly noted that 96% of its viewers watch with sound, and it implored advertisers to spend their budgets on videos that will heard as well as seen.
Jukin Media, which specializes in user-generated footage — and brought the world “Chewbacca Mom” — has a new show on Comcast’sWatchable streaming video service. And yes, it involves cat videos.
“Awesome Pet Thoughts” utilizes user-submitted pet clips — a Jukin staple — as building blocks in an offbeat, scripted show that puts the animals in situations millennials might face, such as dealing with a weekday hangover or an uncomfortable office romance.
Each episode is between three and four minutes, and uses source material from Jukin’s vast repository of user-generated content. The videos are stitched together to create offbeat storylines with recurring characters.
As the MCN’s continue to transform themselves into multi-media, multi-platform studios, hiring development execs from television to help bolster their credibility amongst premium buyers and distributors. Now, Machinimais following suit — with the hires of Gary King and Dave Pullano as Directors of Development. Both will report to Senior Vice President Programming/Editor-In-Chief Jason Dimberg.
King (pictured) brings linear experience from Disney/ABC Networks as does Pullano, who held post at Zodiak Entertainment developing and selling content to TV networks.
YouTube’s reach is unparalleled, though profitability still isn’t a focus for the 11-year-old video giant, CEO Susan Wojcickiexplained, speaking yesterday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. Despite the fact that it has one billion monthly users and facilitates the viewership of millions of hours of content every day, “we are still in investment mode,” Wojcicki said, noting that “there’s no timetable” with regard to profitability.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that YouTube isn’t profitable right now, notes Fortune, it means that it’s not an immediate focus. (Google doesn’t break out YouTube’s earnings separately — though the video platform is rumored to have amassed $8.5 billion in ad revenues in 2015.)
Wojcicki, who joined YouTube from a different role within parent company Google three years ago, said that declining TV viewership among young people — who today are largely watching influencer-created programming on their mobile phones — represents a huge opportunity. And in addition to continuing to invest in its creators, Wojcicki said, the company is also investing in virtual reality, emerging markets, and the living room viewing experience, she told Fortune.
NY Digital Editor@xpangler
COURTESY OF FULLSCREEN/FINE BROTHERS ENTERTAINMENT
OCTOBER 20, 2016 | 10:30AM PT
Fullscreen has picked up Fine Brothers Entertainment’s “Celebs React” half-hour series, capturing the spontaneous reactions of more than two dozen stars from film, TV, social media and music as they watch weird viral videos and engage in uncomfortable challenges.
The show’s guests include Kevin Hart (“What Now?”, “Ride Along”), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”), and YouTube stars Tyler Oakley (“The Tyler Oakley Show” from Ellen DeGeneres’ Ellen Digital Network) and Grace Helbig (“Dirty 30,” “Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig”)
“Celebs React” is a variation on the “React” format that brothers Benny and Rafi Fine have turned into a multiplatform franchise, spanning several YouTube channels and a show that aired on Nickelodeon.