Founder, the Tornante Co.
Impact: Eisner acknowledges he hasn’t yet hit upon a formula for sure-fire Internet video success. “We’re still in the experimental stage,” the former Disney chair says. “We’re trying to think about new ways of doing series, new lengths and new relationships with advertisers and international financiers.”
Last year, Vuguru, Eisner’s new media studio, helped launch an 80-episode series called “Prom Queen.” The 90-second episodes were a mash-up of murder mystery and soap opera, and they generated more than 15 million views on MySpace and Veoh. Vuguru also sold the Japanese and French rights to “Prom Queen” and a spinoff series, “Prom Queen: Summer Heat,” to distributors in those domains.
Eisner says Vuguru has “four or five different projects in the works” for 2008, most of which “marry traditional entertainment to digital entertainment.”
In addition to backing Vuguru, Eisner has put money into Veoh Networks, a San Diego-based video-sharing site that purveys a blend of user-generated videos and professional-grade content, including some full-length CBS shows. And in March, he led a $385 million buyout of the Topps Co., maker of Bazooka bubble gum and baseball cards.
“We’re about to embark on all sorts of digital strategies in sports and sports collecting,” Eisner says, “bringing things from the 3-D collectibles world into the cyber world.”
POV: “There aren’t an enormous number of people anymore who can say, ‘You’ll never work in this town again,’ ” he says.