Former NBC exec to produce original programming for websites
LAS VEGAS — Ben Silverman will set up his next set of shows at Yahoo.The former NBC topper has inked a deal to produce original programming for Yahoo’s websites with the projects also developed to provide advertisers with opportunities to integrate their products and brand messages within them. The deal is the first for Silverman since he set up his online entertainment studio Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, in October. He will announce the deal tomorrow at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Silverman has long been a fan of branded entertainment. He actively paired up advertisers with NBC’s shows, including Ford with “Knight Rider,” while series like “The Biggest Loser, “The Office” and “Ugly Betty,” produced by his former shingle, Reveille, often integrate brands. Content creators and producers are looking for more direct relationships with their audiences and advertising partners, and this partnership will allow advertisers to have fresh ideas matched with premium experiences that enable their messages to be delivered directly to their consumers,” Silverman said. Yahoo has been eager to identify more ways to make its dot coms appeal to advertiers and their marketing dollars and has produced a number of branded entertainment projects with Pepsi and other brands in the past. In October, it inked a deal with GroupM Entertainment to develop several branded entertainment sereis. The company was behind the web series “In the Motherhood,” that ran on MSN and was backed by Suave and Sprint. It was later picked up and adapted into a TV series by ABC. Yahoo! is bringing together the worlds of entertainment and advertising to build differentiated experiences that help redefine branded entertainment,” said Joanne Bradford, senior vice president of North America revenue and market development at Yahoo! Specific projects have yet to be revealed.