Albie Hecht, founder of Spike TV and former president of Nickelodeon, is dipping his toes in the videogame waters.
Hecht, through his Worldwide Biggies entertainment studio, has partnered with Miniclip.com to help bring the gaming portal’s properties to TV and webisodic formats. And the duo expects to have deals in place within the next six months.
“I believe transmedia content, in today’s world, is the most important way to make a connection with the digital audience,” Hecht said. “Content that comes from the Web has a deeper connection to audiences today. And I think games, in particular, will be bigger than books for the new media. … They have two critical elements: They’re digital and they’re interactive. And they connect viscerally with the audience that grew up with them.”
Miniclip isn’t a name that is instantly familiar to some gamers, but it boasts a catalog of more than 800 online and mobile games — and attracts over 70 million unique players per month. The Switzerland-based company has won the Webby award for game site for the past three years.
Its most recent success is “Hambo,” featuring a bandana-wearing war pig who must rescue his friend Bacon from the enemy. The YouTube trailer alone for the game has racked up more than 1.2 million views since it debuted in April.
Hecht pointed to the character as one he believes will resonate beyond the game environment.
“I think you have a character that has the potential to resonate in a Web series,” he said.
Other games — such as “Canyon Defense” and “Gravity Guy” — he sees as potential primetime gameshows.
Hecht and Miniclip are in the process of determining exactly which games to pitch first. Talks with external studios are expected to start in about a month. Hecht is banking on the site’s loyal users being an incentive to producers.
“With the global audience and reach of Miniclip, you have the power of a cable company potentially behind this when you put out a property,” he said.
Miniclip is hoping to follow in the steps of app developer Rovio with this move. That company’s extensive marketing prowess has turned “Angry Birds” from a game to a global phenomenon that spans the toy, clothing and playground equipment industries. Earlier this year, the company signed an agreement with Marvel Studios for an Angry Birds feature film.