Guy Primus, head of interactive media at Overbrook, feels the occasional wave of deja vu when it comes to the entertainment industry’s current fervor for all things online.
“I saw how people jumped on the dot-com bandwagon,” says Primus, whose online market research company Urban IQ was acquired by Sean Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment in 2001, after the bubble burst. “There was this incredible sense of zeitgeist that took hold of people, and it almost feels like we’re there again — except this time, we all have the benefit of hindsight.”
Primus experienced stints at MSN.com and Starbucks Entertainment before being hired by Overbrook just more than a year ago. His mission: to build Overbrook’s Interactive department from the ground up. His domain includes original Web content, videogames and mobile, plus offline merchandising.
“We’re identifying the right properties and finding writers and animators and director for those properties,” says Primus. The plan is to establish a level playing field for Overbrook’s film, television and online operations, with online standing head and shoulders alongside the two other media spheres.
“I like to think of Overbrook’s online content as being a final destination in itself,” says Primus.
While he remains relatively tight-lipped about upcoming projects, Primus does confirm that Overbrook will launch its first online property in the first quarter of 2009 — a “teen-
focused” destination with shows plus online activities and Web services. PluggedIn.com, one of several Web-service providers/technology partners Overbrook is working with, will power the video portion of the destination. The company is “continuously evaluating distribution options” for all online and mobile content in development.
Primus emphasizes the stand-alone nature of Overbrook’s interactive product. Today, he says, online isn’t just about spinoffs and add-ons. “We are trying to create content that is as compelling as the stuff that you see on television,” he says. “We’re building brands that can stand the test of time so that once they have launched, they can be easily incubated online.”
Global appeal is a key component of the Overbrook business model, especially so when it comes to online content strategy. “I think if it’s not global in scope, it won’t get made, especially in the interactive space,” Primus says. “Will (Smith), James (Lassiter) and Ken (Stovitz) are legendary for their globe-trotting, and because they touch so many people around the world, what we do has to translate.”