London-based online marketing and creative agency Digital Outlook is launching its own production division to develop, produce and distribute character-based intellectual properties online, as well as across all media, including TV, licensing, retail and publishing.
The new studio seeks production partners and creative talent to work with on content and brand creation. The studio already has an active development slate and plans to develop and exploit up to 10 franchises over the next two years.
Angus Fletcher, former president of Jim Henson TV, Europe, is joining as exec producer. As a BAFTA award-winning TV exec with more than 20 years experience producing and managing entertainment brands and franchises, Fletcher joins Jens Bachem, md at Digital Outlook and cd Dino Burbidge to manage and spearhead the studios content creation.
The new company combines the agencys firm grounding in developing engaging, interactive content and building audiences online for major entertainment companies, including Buena Vista International, Chorion, Aardman Animations and Xbox, with traditional TV production, brand exploitation and deal making expertise.
We have been bringing our clients stories and characters to life online for years so its a very natural progression, commented Burbidge. It will allow us to experiment, take risks and build our knowledge, which will in turn help our existing clients.The studios output will cater for all ages including kids, teens and adults and span several genres. In addition to developing ideas generated in-house and by external writers, the studio plans to collaborate and co-produce with other production companies and media groups.
This is a brand new business model marrying our digital expertise with more traditional development and production skills, said Fletcher. We are at the forefront of digital media and now plan to create entertaining, sustainable franchises which we can exploit across all media.
Fletcher has experience running from childrens programming to drama, as well as a deep knowledge of the global creative, production, co-production and distribution business. He has recently co-created and produced the 65-part series, FIVE MINUTES MORE for ABC Australia and the Disney Channel. Until 2003, he served as president of Jim Henson Television, Europe and joint president of the global TV group.
His work has been broadcast by the BBC, the Disney Channel, Channel 4, ITV, Carlton, Nickelodeon and RTL. He was the co-creator and exec producer of the BAFTA-winning THE HOOBS (Channel 4 and Nickelodeon).
Kate Hall moves from the companys marketing division to spearhead distribution and syndication for Digital Outlook Studios. The digital media vet was director, entertainment at AOL UK, where she was the strategic and tactical lead for the TV, film, music, games, teens and kids content channels.
Bachem added, Its about maximizing creativity and minimizing risk. It is much more economically viable to launch, test and improve an idea online -- distributing via the likes of YouTube and MySpace -- before taking it to the broadcasters and retailers.
The key drives for the new business are: the continued growth of online and broadband; explosion in social media community sites; growth in online advertising; proliferation of online creation tools; increased costs and lead times for traditional TV and production companies.
Digital Outlook Studios (www.digitaloutlookstudios.com) plans to monetize IP both online and through offline channels, such as TV, mobile, publishing and retail.