Social video syndicator launches original-content unit

Social video syndicator Alphabird has launched an original-content development division and production arm to create branded entertainment properties for marketers, recruiting a team of digital programmers from Endemol to oversee the projects.

The team includes Russell Naftal, Endemol’s former head of digital development and distribution; head of digital production Johnny McMahon; and Kelli Usher, head of integrated partnerships and marketing.

The trio will manage the development and production of all original content for Alphabird, based out of the company’s new Beverly Hills offices.

Content will be distributed by Alphabird’s Editorial Network, powered by its Flight technology platform.

“By bringing aboard internationally renowned creative talent that has earned several industry awards, combined with the guaranteed viewership of millions of people around the world, we’re enhancing our capabilities to deliver the largest audiences to online video, (and) we now have the firepower to develop and produce that content inhouse,” said Alphabird CEO Chase Norlin. “Furthermore, the integration of one of the most powerful production teams in branded entertainment enables us to provide brands direct access to the full life cycle of a creative video content advertising campaign.”

While at Endemol, Naftal, McMahon and Usher worked on TV series including “Wipeout,” “Big Brother” and “Deal or No Deal,” as well as the digital properties “MLB Fan Cave,” “Married on MySpace” and “James Hyde Steals the Show” — the last of which the team had worked on with Alphabird and marketer Toyota.

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