Entertainment-news publisher HitFix has cut a pact with Russ Leatherman, co-founder of Moviefone and erstwhile chipper voice of the service, to launch video versions of his Six-Second Reviews.
Leatherman left Moviefone, which was acquired by AOL in 1999, last December. He’s now focused on building out his Six-Second Reviews, which are syndicated by Envision Networks to more than 600 radio stations across the country.
HitFix will distribute the microreviews on its website and via partners including YouTube, Hulu and Campus Nation, which distributes video to college campuses across the U.S. “It’s shortform video — it’s shareable and snackable,” said HitFix CEO Jen Sargent.
Leatherman produces three to five reviews per week, which are punctuated by an “in” or “out” verdict, and he envisions expanding the format to TV and music as well. (The segments are actually about 15 seconds, including intro and sponsor tag at the end.) He claims he came up with the idea for the six-second movie review before Vine’s six-second video service emerged: “We live in an ADD world. People are looking for fun, fast content,” he said.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based HitFix claims to deliver 90 million monthly videos streams and reach 300 million monthly users both in their home and on the go. Company’s backers include Gordon Crawford, Golden Seeds, Angel Capital Entrepreneurial Fund, Liquid Capital Group and Tech Coast Angels.
AOL’s Moviefone, meanwhile, this spring shut down the 777-FILM phone lines that had been part of the service since it launched in 1989. AOL has relaunched the site and its mobile apps — and now it’s looking for a successor to Leatherman’s iconic voice with a contest to find the next “Mr. or Ms. Moviefone.”
Watch Leatherman’s Six Second Review of “Million Dollar Arm”: