You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Maker Studios Launches Maker.tv, Tees Up Original Series from Morgan Spurlock and YouTube Stars

Maker Studios, the digital media company that Disney is buying for up to $950 million, unveiled a slate of original programming and took the wraps off Maker.tv — a consumer destination for monetizing video off YouTube.

At its first Digital Content NewFronts event Tuesday evening in New York, Maker showed off existing and new content across 23 vertical network categories for a crowd of ad execs and partners. That included the premiere of the next season of its “Epic Rap Battles of History” franchise and a new branded-content series from documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.

Maker.tv will include premium content produced by Maker Studios that is not available on YouTube. The content on the website will be windowed, the MCN said.

As part of Disney, Maker will work with all of the Mouse House’s brands, said Maker exec chairman Ynon Kreiz, including Lucasiflm, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN, ABC and Disney itself. The combined Internet reach of Disney and Maker Studios will be behind only Google and Facebook, he said.

“Our mission is to empower creators and inspire expression,” Kreiz said at the NewFronts preso.

Added Maker chief content officer Erin McPherson: “We will access the Disney library to create all forms of new shortform content.”

SEE ALSO: Bob Iger Explains Why Disney Bought Maker Studios

McPherson, who joined Maker last fall from Yahoo, said she’s often asked what the MCN’s “House of Cards” will be. The company already has a tentpole in “Epic Rap Battles,” she said — a series that has generated 1.5 billion views to date, with an average of 30 million views per episode. “Those are numbers that would make broadcasters salivate,” McPherson said, as she introduced the “ERB” clip featuring ex-cop Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead” vs. Walter White from “Breaking Bad.”

In addition, Maker announced a new programming model, Labs@Maker. Under that program, creators and brands will be able to co-create content with Maker, working with the MCN’s creative team and talent partners. This new model also provides data and insight tools for partners to receive real-time feedback with a comprehensive understanding on audience behavior and reactions.

SEE ALSO: Comedy Central’s ‘Key & Peele’ Team with Maker for Digital Comedy Series

Initial Labs@Maker partners include James Franco and partner Vince Jolivette’s Rabbit Bandini Prods.; Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, publisher of the comic that “The Walking Dead” is based on; X Games champion professional skateboarder Nyjah Huston; and musician and entrepreneur will.i.am, whose deal with Maker was announced earlier this year.

Maker also announced an agreement with ad-agency Omnicom Media Group, which has committed to a certain level of upfront ad spending on Maker properties. The MCN touted a new ad product, Maker Offers, which lets marketers tap directly into its network of 50,000 content creators for brand integration.

New series highlighted by Maker include:

“Ithamar Has Nothing to Say”: As previously announced, six-episode shortform comedy series follows a traveler exploring the U.S. for the first time, without speaking a single word. Series stars Ithamar Enriquez (“The Office”) and is produced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” Principato-Young Entertainment, Enriquez, and Frank Caeti.

“smartish”: Channel from Morgan Spurlock that is aimed at brands looking to produce content that will exclusively be curated by “smartish” talent across platforms. Show offerings include: “Consider the Source,” which will highlight economic, environmental and the often mysterious journeys familiar products take to get from factories and fields into our very own hands; and “How to Win at Life,” based on Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” to take a look at the science and hidden psychology behind everyday choices that may just be ruining your life.

“Over the Top”: Scripted series starring musician, actor and digital star Chester See as a struggling artist trying to make a name for himself in the L.A. music scene.

“ShayLife”: YouTube star Shay “ShayCarl” Butler, a longtime Maker talent, hosts docuseries that that gives everyday people a rejuvenated lease on life.

“Stampy School”: Online gamer Joseph Garrett (a.k.a. Stampylonghead) uses the popular Minecraft game for a new take on educational programming.

“Cri-Chic-Ing”: Style maven P’Trique and her friends dole out fashion feedback to unsuspecting pedestrians during Fashion Week.

“Oh, You Pretty Things!”: 10-episode series produced in partnership with Nylon TV, starring Francesca Eastwood and Alexander Nifong (“Pretty Little Liars”) about a group of 20-something trendsetters looking for their big break in the underground music and fashion scene in the Eastside of Los Angeles. All episodes of the series are set to premiere on Maker.tv and its YouTube fashion and beauty channel The Platform on May 19.

Maker’s NewFronts event was held at the Liberty Theater in Manhattan’s Times Square. The presentation featured appearances by talent include Spurlock, ShayCarl, Joseph Garrett, Nyjah Huston and Miss Piggy.

The event included live performances by will.i.am (featuring up-and-comer Cody Wise) and country-folk recording group The Gregory Brothers (who did a terrific cover of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball”).

More Digital

  • View of the Public Library on

    New York City Public Libraries Drop Kanopy Free Movie-Streaming Service

    Kanopy suffered a blow with the decision by New York City’s three public library systems — collectively the biggest library system in the U.S., with some 210 branches across the Big Apple — to drop the free movie-streaming service, citing high costs. As of July 1, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn and [...]

  • Cameo

    Celebrity Video Greetings Service Cameo Raises $50 Million

    Cameo, a service that works with celebrities to sell personalized video greetings to fans, has raised a $50 million Series B round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins. The Chernin Group, Spark Ventures, Bain Capital and Lightspeeed Venture Partners participated in the funding as well. Cameo wants to use the cash infusion to grow both [...]

  • Gena Konstantinakos - Topic

    Topic Hires Viceland's Gena Konstantinakos as VP, Development and Video Programming

    Topic, First Look Media’s entertainment studio and digital destination for original content, hired veteran producer Gena Konstantinakos as VP, development and video programming. Konstantinakos hails from Vice Media’s Viceland cable channel, where she was executive producer, development and current series. At Topic, she reports to Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic. Konstantinakos is tasked with [...]

  • Martin Kon - YouTube

    YouTube Hires Consultant Martin Kon as VP of Strategy

    Google’s YouTube tapped Martin Kon, who has worked as a tech, media, and telecoms consultant for more than two decades, as VP of strategy. Kon, based at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., reports to chief business officer Robert Kyncl. Kon will work with YouTube senior execs to help formulate the long-term vision of the [...]

  • Sonos One

    Sonos Sues Competitor Bluesound for Patent Infringement

    Smart speaker maker Sonos has sued Lenbrook Industries, the company behind the audio brand Bluesound, for patent infringement. It’s the second such lawsuit from Sonos against a competitor, which has also been using its patents to gain concessions from the makers of voice assistants. In the lawsuit filed late last week in a California court, [...]

  • tubi tv roku

    Ad-Supported Video Service Tubi Tops 20 Million Monthly Active Users

    Ad-supported video service Tubi broke its own audience records in May: Tubi, which positions itself as a free alternative to Netflix, surpassed 20 million monthly active users last month, the company said Monday. The service’s users viewed more than 94 million hours of programming in May, according to Tubi, which also claimed to have brought [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content