Erik Flannigan

Exec VP of digital media, MTV Networks Ent. Group

Comedy Central’s digital maven has been on a mission ever since he joined the MTV group a few years ago: Reclaim the channel’s popular programming online.

Erik Flannigan pushed the Viacom company away from its clunky umbrella approach to broadband, building separate online entities for “The Daily Show,” “South Park” and “The Colbert Report.” The past year, MTV Networks’ exec VP of digital media relaunched Atom.com as a home for edgier Web originals and Jokes.com as a repository of standup bits.

Comedy Central also began allowing Hulu to stream episodes of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” under a 30-day window; this deal was especially noteworthy given the parent company’s legal battle with YouTube over unsanctioned clip sharing.

Flannigan says the Hulu deal makes sense due to the perishable nature of the content, and the fact that both shows drive so much watercooler discussion.

“The Daily Show” site, which got an upgrade earlier this month, boasts complete show archives as well as a growing array of original programming spotlighting the faux correspondents. ColbertNation.com plays off the star’s blowhard persona with its Web originals.

“South Park” episodes, meanwhile, draw online auds regardless of whether the toon’s in season. “It appears these episodes are going to play forever,” says Flannigan, who was AOL’s VP of programming before he joined MTV Networks.

“Comedy and online were made for each other because comedy clips can be broken down into jokes,” Flannigan says. “If it isn’t funny in three minutes, it isn’t going to be funny in 20 minutes.”

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