The man who ran UTA Online, one of the most ambitious agency plays in online content, is moving to the other side of the table.
Brent Weinstein will run 60Frames, a new online syndication company that was incubated and financed by UTA and online ad agency SpotRunner. The Tudor Investment Corp. and the Pilot Group also provided financing.
UTA clients Joel and Ethan Coen will be the first talent to have content syndicated via 60Frames. While execs wouldn’t give details, a UTA rep said the auteurs will apply their trademark vision to the effort.
Weinstein and others have been developing the company concurrently with the existence of UTA Online. It has been operating in what it calls stealth mode — essentially talking to UTA agents only — in the past few weeks but will now begin negotiating with others.
Total financing for 60Frames is about $3.5 million so far.
Company was born in part of the frustration that UTA Online has sometimes felt with content distributors, with execs saying that the process of landing deals for talent was not as smooth as it could have been and didn’t provide artists with enough of an investment stake.
“In the process of making deals, we realized artists had a real hunger to work in the online space, but we also realized the process was burdensome and taxing,” Weinstein said. “We needed a process that would give artists an easy way to develop content and also give them a clear upside in the properties.”
Though 60Frames has yet to make any formal content deals, Weinstein said he imagined pacts for shortform comedy as well as other genres. He said the company would like to focus on content from traditional talent but also would be seeking deals for content from new-media celebs.
Weinstein emphasized that 60Frames was not an agency and would in fact work with tenpercenteries like UTA to distribute content to websites; it also will not produce any content of its own.
Startup’s business model centers on landing revenue for content from consumers as well as revenue from advertisers.
But the company faces something of an uphill battle; landing profitable deals for content online has proved difficult, especially for operators not associated with any of the media congloms.
And on the distribution front, 60Frames will be up against efforts from players like CBS, which is distributing its content to a host of sites, and NewCo, the News Corp.-NBC venture that will aggregate content from the congloms and others on a customer-focused site.
Despite the competition, Weinstein feels there’s room for a new player handling content from film and TV celebs.
“Consumers are eating up repurposed traditional media content, and then you have a ton of user-generated, but in the middle, there’s a lack of quality original programming,” he said.
While UTA Online landed clients like new-media upstart People Food, its mission has sometimes been murky to some in the Hollywood community.
But UTA Online will continue to function as it has, looking for deals on behalf of traditional and new-media clients, with about a half-dozen agents repping talent.
UTA partner Jeremy Zimmer said that the tenpercentery was satisfied with the efforts of UTA Online and, in fact, had recently added another agent to the division. He said the company would not name a CEO to replace Weinstein but would continue to rep new-media talent to new-media platforms.