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‘Epic Meal’ on Japanese plate

YouTube cooking show to be adapted by Yoshimoto Kogyo, Next Time Prods

Japanese media conglom Yoshimoto Kogyo has partnered with Next Time Prods to adapt its popular YouTube cooking show “Epic Meal Time” for Asian audiences, signaling that web series may soon start migrating to foreign markets, providing creators additional revenue opportunities for their projects.

As part of the deal, YK will produce “Epic Meal Time Japan” for digital platforms, and develop original concepts and formats, including TV shows, with Next Time for the Japanese and other internatinal markets.

In addition to producing entertainment, YK also manages a large roster of comedians in Japan. It imported and produced a local-language version of Broadway Video’s “Saturday Night Live,” recently wrapping up the first season of the show there.

YK also has secured TV co-production pacts with Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, Howard Schultz’s Lighthearted Entertainment and IAC’s Notional over the past two years.

Hosted by co-creator Harley Morenstein (a former substitute high school teacher from Montreal), “Epic Meal Time” has found a strong following among younger males and revolves around extremely high-calorie meat-based meals that never shy away from bacon or alcohol. Tony Hawk and Deadmau5 have appeared on the series whose episodes typically run around five minutes each.

Since bowing in 2010, the show has attracted more than 2.2 million subs and ranks as the 12th most subscribed YouTube channel. The success of the show prompted Morenstein and brother Darren to form Next Time in February 2011.

Until now, show has generated most of its coin from advertising and merchandise like T-shirts. But deals with distributors like YM could significantly change that.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with Yoshimoto,” Harley Morenstein said. “They are obviously masters at what they do, and we are looking forward to collaborating on international comedy and culinary delicacies.”

YK is expected to start producing the Japanese version in April, with hosts searching for the Kagoshima black pig, a rare breed of the Berkshire pig that’s bred in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture under the Kagoshima Kurobuta name.

“We are thrilled to be developing content with Harley and Darren and the crew from Next Time Productions,” said Yoshimoto Kogyo U.S.’ CEO Aki Yorihiro. “Clearly they have their finger on the pulse of next-generation creative.”

YK has upped its interest in online content, backing Nerdist Industries, which is readying to launch its own YouTube channel, the Nerdist Channel, that will feature web series like “Weird S#!t From Japan.” YM is co-producing the project.

The Gersh Agency’s Todd Christopher repped Next Time in the deal. Peter Levin, executive advisor to Yoshimoto Kogyo and CEO of Nerdist Industries, repped Yoshimoto Kogyo.

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