Digital network Machinima has adopted a new tagline — “Heroes Rise” — and logo to drive home its focus on fanboy and gamer culture, and has rolled out new programs designed to cater to its network of 12,000 creators.
The “Heroes Rise” slogan is part of Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein’s efforts to establish a brand identity for the YouTube-oriented multichannel network. Gutstein is former head of cable network Ovation, who was hired in May to run Machinima following funding led by Warner Bros. He likened the move to the branding of a TV network.
“We have spent the past seven months building out the team, tools and programming capabilities, enabling us to truly super-serve our talent network and bring forth the programming our audience craves,” Gutstein said. The “Heroes Rise” tagline is meant to suggest the “irreverent, tenacious, fearless, mischievous, rebellious and twisted nature of Machinima programming.”
Gutstein says Machinima — which has struggled financially and endured several rounds of layoffs — is not an “MCN” in the industry’s definition. Rather, he calls the company a “many-to-many programming service” (“M2M” for short), built around thematically related content from a range of partners.
As part of working with creator partners, Machinima has launched the “Level Up” program, which defines three different support and service levels talent will receive. Those are M-Black, an invitation-only level for the largest content partners who receive one-on-one support and access to Machinima’s content development, branded-content and production teams; M-Red, also invite-only level that offers premium support, advanced analytics and online tools, programming training and brand activation opportunities; and M-White, an entry level tier for new creators that offers basic support and analytics.
In addition, Machinima has launched a talent-management system called “Console” to make it easier for creators to work with the company. Also, it announced a research panel, “Machinima Legion,” comprising 10,000 viewers that it will share with brand partners and advertisers to track consumer preferences over time.
Machinima, whose investors also include Google Capital, MK Capital and Redpoint Ventures, still serves a large audience. It counts 400 million subscribers with 3 billion monthly views, putting in the top five YouTube multichannel networks in the U.S. in reach and engagement.