Alchemy, Bunim-Murray pact to develop web properties

Kaleidoscope, FWD YouTube channels target young African-Americans

As digital content continues to migrate from YouTube channels to TV, producers are scrambling to find the next “Annoying Orange” and other properties ripe for the cable picking.

A new partnership between Alchemy Networks and reality shingle Bunim-Murray Prods., however, aims to take a more strategic approach to the web-to-TV development process.

“When getting digital content on TV, the question always is — who’s going to produce this programming?” Peter Griffith, CEO of Alchemy Networks, told Variety. “That box has been checked off for us because we work with Bunim-Murray. We create a show for Web and can immediately start shopping it to TV because they’re our partner.”

Alchemy currently has two premium channels funded by YouTube — Kaleidoscope, which launched in late December, and FWD, which is slated to launch in March. Both focus on beauty, fashion, lifestyle and celeb content for urban consumers in the 18-34 and 25-54 demos. Bunim-Murray is also a partner in the channels.

In addition, Alchemy also aggregates about 30 existing YouTube channels that target these demographics. All told, the Alchemy network has nearly a million subscribers.

YouTube hits that have made the leap to TV often team with an established production company during the transition to broadcast, as the production demands increase. Take OWN’s “Golden Sisters.” Comedic docuseries originated from a viral YouTube clip of three elderly women watching a celeb sex tape. LMNO Prods. spotted reality TV potential in the women, produced a docuseries and shopped it around, eventually landing it at OWN.

With Alchemy, however, Bunim-Murray is present from the inception of online content, producing digital programs like “BRKDWN” and “Red Hawt Gossip,” daily celeb news shows, and “LookBook,” a program that highlights street fashion.

“Even though we’re developing short-form content, we wanted something that could easily transition to television,” said Griffith, who noted that cable nets have expressed interest in these web series. “With Bunim-Murray, they are there when it comes to securing the talent for this digital content, structuring the deal, and give us access to back-end production facilities.”

For Bunim-Murray, the Alchemy deal offers an avenue to a younger demographic that is elusive on traditional TV.

“The thing that attracted us to this young, African-American demographic is their lifestyle,” said Daniel Tibbets, Bunim-Murray’s senior veep of digital media. “Our core demo is 18-49 across all of our shows, which is something Alchemy is also targeting…with this partnership, we’re going for the young, hip 18-34 trendsetters.”