Yahoo to Distribute Electus’ Advertiser-Assisted Shows

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video_small.jpgADOTAS – All right — I’m going to come clean with you guys: I’m a huge “Buffy the Vampire Fan.” Anything creator Joss Whedon does I’m bound to be into — and I’m pissed that his latest show “Dollhouse” was canceled by Fox.

But Whedon bypassed the networks — cable and broadcast — for one of his most creative efforts, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” a three-part musical comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris as a wannabe evil genius. The show was released in three hilarious installments on the web, thus highlighting the potential for highly original and well-produced content introduced on the Internet.

Former NBC executive Ben Silverman is not blind to the potential here, hence why his new studio Electus has signed a distribution deal with Yahoo! to produce content — shows, he says — in collaboration with advertisers.

In an interview with The New York Times, Silverman was vague about the kind of programming he intends to develop for Yahoo, but noted the potential for “episodic storytelling.” He boasted that he’s working with actors like Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and America Ferrara and said he’s “tapping into the A-list storytelling engine.”

We’re talking “Lost” brought to you by Coca-Cola (somehow I doubt an airline would sponsor that show) and exclusively on Yahoo!.

Silverman has a rep for being the executive producer of such television hits as “The Office,” “Ugly Betty” and¬† “The Biggest Loser.” After a two-year stint at NBC, where he failed to deliver the network from the ratings slump it has experienced since the expiration of monster hits “Friends” and “The West Wing,” Silverman jumped the network ship in 2009 for the open fields of Internet content, partnering with Barry Diller and IAC/InterActiveCorp to form Electus.

This would be an interesting new gateway for brands, especially as advertisers bemoan the lack of original video content online. Brands have been sponsoring online videos for some time — I particularly enjoy “The Onion Sport Network’s” Sweat Room brought to you by Coke Zero — but this is a creative leap. Online video is ripe for highly original content — rather than the glut of cheaply produced how-to content.

What better way to lure advertisers away from TV than by high-quality, Internet-based content that they get to help create?

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