John Hegeman, the Internet marketing guru behind much of Artisan Entertainment’s “Blair Witch Project” campaign, is launching his latest venture today — the sci-fi, horror and fantasy destination DistantCorners.com — through a major creative and investment partnership with Revolution Studios chairman Joe Roth.
Distant Corners features original animation, streaming video and games, as well as news, memorabilia offerings and community environments.
Some original content and characters appearing on site’s seven programming channels have already been created by Eli Stone (a writer and illustrator for “The Tick”), actor Bob Balaban (“Three to Tango,” “Jakob the Liar,” helmer of “My Boyfriend’s Back”) and John Fasano (writer of “Universal Solder: The Return,” “Another 48 Hours” and associate producer of “Tombstone”). Goal is to launch 25 original Web programs and up to eight new games per year.
Distant prexy and CEO Hegeman said one third of new content will come from unknown filmmakers.
“We want this site to become a platform where new voices can be heard,” Hegeman told Daily Variety.
Web site will rely on sponsorships and pay-per-view and subscriber-based events for revenues rather than on banner ads.
Dot-com is the first product to come out of Distant Corners Entertainment Group, founded by Hegeman and Roth, which also includes production, licensing and merchandising efforts. Company, to operate with a staff of 30, is based in Los Angeles and New York.
A whole new genre
Plans call for Distant Corners to become Revolution’s official genre label, similar to Miramax’s Destination Films banner, turning the site’s original characters and Web programs into film franchises and TV series, comics, books, trading cards, vidgames, figurines and apparel.
“The idea is to start a genre label using this particular venue as the incubator of content,” Roth told Daily Variety. “I always loved horror and sci-fi as a movie fan, and early on we hope to pull properties out of it that can cross over to films or television.”
Roth will help attract and negotiate deals with top talent to create content for the site.
Pics will be distribbed through Roth’s deal with Sony or possibly Artisan, which is also an equity investor in DistantCorners.com.
Hegeman was formerly prexy of worldwide marketing at Artisan. Both companies anticipate promotional and content-driven partnerships.
Content will also be cross-promoted or co-produced with MediaTrip.com, Revolution’s inhouse Netcaster headed by Austin Harrison.
Although entering a very crowded market dominated by other dot-coms that include Fandom, Fangoria, geek sites for everything “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” and the recently combined Sci-Fi.com and Centropolis’ Mothership.com, Distant Corners should quickly find success among a demo attracted to any site catering to the genres, especially one that features original content.
And Hegeman and Roth are relying upon those connected fanatics to tell them what properties may work offline.
“Not everything is best suited for a movie or TV show,” Hegeman said, “but you have the opportunity to test things out. That’s the beauty of the Internet — the direct line of communication with the user.”
Roth added, “These people are very vocal. We want them to tell us if something may turn out to be a great idea for films or television. You can get an overall response very quickly.”