Digital on docket at Sci Fi net

Broadband channel will feature exclusive content

As part of NBC Universal’s march into digital media, Sci Fi Channel has established a team devoted to creating original content specifically for new-media platforms and its coming broadband channel.

Latter service is slated to launch in May. Like the broadband services of other cable networks, Sci Fi’s channel will be a mix of exclusive content as well as content taken directly from the linear network.

Senior VP of SciFi.com and Sci Fi magazine Craig Engler, who was tapped to run the new-media division last month (Daily Variety, Feb. 16), has named Matthew Chiavelli as multimedia director. He’ll spearhead his own team to help launch and develop original content for the cabler’s broadband channel, including video and podcasting.

At the same time, Marlon Jackson has been appointed Web director, and Shara Zoll will serve as project director. Jackson will focus on more traditional Web development for the show sites, while Zoll will run projects and act as the liaison for the entire new-media group.

All three execs will report directly to Engler.

Appointments were made as part of an overall push from NBC Universal to serve audiences on all screens. Engler noted he and Chiavelli are now a key part of the development process at Sci Fi Channel.

“From this point on, every show we have in development at Sci Fi will now have online and new-media components,” Engler said. That means upcoming drama “Eureka” will be spun off into Webisodes — with characters and storylines pulled directly from the show — that will be available when the one-hour launches in July.

Online group at SciFi.com, in fact, has already created and amassed a wealth of additional content for current shows like “Battlestar Galactica.” Group shot 13 featurettes for the series that lived online during its run and now are featured on the “BSG” DVD. Team also put together podcasts and a blog for the show’s exec producers.

SciFi.com will debut “King Kong’s Skull Island,” a behind-the-scenes doc that will be featured on the movie’s DVD, in advance of its broadcast premiere on Sci Fi Channel.

Chiavelli spent the last four years as creative director for SciFi.com, which has undergone two upgrades during his tenure. Jackson had been production director prior to his promotion, while Zoll previously helped with the redesign of SciFi.com’s Webzine Science Fiction Weekly and the development of new user-created content for the site.

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