'Deal' producer to expand website
“Deal or No Deal” producer Endemol USA has acquired online animation site JoeCartoon.com.Nine-year-old comedy content creator is best known for its 1999 short “Frog in a Blender,” which has been viewed more than 90 million times. Along with pioneers such as Jib Jab and Heavy.com, it survived the first dot-com boom, partnering with Atom Films for a while but eventually returning to its independent roots. Endemol said it plans to “significantly expand JoeCartoon’s Web presence and develop specific content packages for mobile operators around the world.” Reality giant is already a major mobile player thanks in part to text messaging games linked to skeins such as “Deal” and the now-defunct “Midnight Money Madness.” Flash animation used by JoeCartoon makes its content easily adaptable for cell-phone platforms. Also in the works: a TV series based on characters created by JoeCartoon, including SuperFly, the Greenfields and Joe Momma. The JoeCartoon.com Web site will also be revamped and relaunched by the end of June. “This is an important acquisition for us as a company to show our commitment to the new digital frontier,” said Jon Vlassopulos, VP of business development and digital media at Endemol USA. Endemol already has a solid new-media presence. Company’s online content channel Lazy TV has a home on AOL.com. Endemol also recently partnered with Comcast to supply content for the latter’s Ziddio user content site. Online comedy has been a major focus for a number of major media companies. NBC has invested significant resources in its Dotcomedy site, while Turner bragged on Wednesday that its site Super Deluxe has attracted 1 million unique visitors since launching last month. JoeCartoon was created in 1998 by Joe Shields and Mike Tuinstra. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.