Will Vine fans follow their stars from six seconds to 90 minutes? Former Turner and Electronic Arts executive Doug Barry believes they will, which is why he is part of the launch of a new movie production and distribution company dubbed Digital Riot Media that aims to target fans of Viners, YouTubers and Instagram stars this Monday.
“By combining Silicon Valley efficiency with the best of Hollywood storytelling and talent, we will dramatically change how movies are made, marketed and distributed,” said Barry, who is serving as the company’s executive chairman.
Barry is joined in his efforts by a team including CEO John Baldecchi, whose production credits include “The Mexican”, “Simon Birch” and most recently the remake of “Point Break”, and CTO Steve Katz, who most recently served as the CEO of Shoptouch. Advisors to the company include former Fox and CBS exec Amy Baer and two-time Academy Award winner Charlie Gibson.
Digital Riot Media is looking to produce movies with digital media stars, and then distribute them through online platforms like Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and others. “Upcoming projects feature well-known YouTube, Vine, and Instagram personalities along with traditional TV and film stars,” Barry said. A spokesperson added that projects to be tackled in the first half of 2016 include “a workplace comedy, urban comedy, high school gender identity dramedy with heart, teen thriller, and a musical,” but declined to comment on casting choices as contracts are still being finalized.
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Of course, Digital Riot isn’t the first media company looking to take YouTubers and other online stars to bigger screens and longer formats. Some of the traditional studios have woken up to the star power of this new generation of celebrities as well. Lionsgate for example recently acquired the distribution rights for “Natural Born Pranksters”, a flick starring some of YouTube’s best-known prank artists. And YouTube recently started to invest into long-form content itself as well, some of which is going to be exclusively made available to subscribers of its paid YouTube Red tier.