The movement by such stalwart Web brands as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix into the original content business is keeping David Tochterman busy these days.As head of Innovative Artists’ Digital Media division, Tochterman focuses on packaging premium content on digital (and other) platforms. And while he says the space is hardly at the beginning of its growth curve, it has a long way to go. “I think this kind of content is going to follow the same route as cable,” he says. “Cable started as an alternative to primetime. It wasn’t highly thought of at the time … then it added a layer of original content on top of the aggregated content.” The increased budgets and length of online programming is also beginning to draw Hollywood talent. Innovative has placed several clients — including Bob Newhart, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Holly Robinson Peete — in online projects. And it has been just as successful at helping Internet pioneers expand into traditional media, such as Science+Fiction, which took Jenny McCarthy’s “In the Motherhood” from online to ABC. “People are seeing the value of working in this space and it’s really no longer experimental,” he says. And while Internet companies have made halting starts at big-budget original content in the past, only to retreat to the familiar, Tochterman says he believes they’re unlikely to backtrack this time around. “I have never seen things move as quickly as they are now,” he says. “I think the next big sea change is going to be when Internet-connected television and the app environment and app economy transfer to the television screen. What’s a network going to look like when this content’s available not only anytime and anywhere, but also when the (online) content is equally weighted on your TV?” Only time will tell.
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