Ellen DeGeneres has signed social-media star Tyler Oakley to a content-development pact, as part of the talk-show host and comedian’s new plan to grow her already enormous digital empire.
The deal with Oakley comes with the launch of the Ellen Digital Network, a new umbrella brand encompassing all of her online content that will combine original programming and user-generated content. DeGeneres and Oakley are set to collaborate on a range of original digital projects with an aim toward developing projects for TV as well. Oakley’s digital footprint includes more than 8 million YouTube subscribers, 6.2 million Instagram followers and 5.2 million on Twitter.
In addition, the inaugural Ellen Digital Network programming slate features an original “Damn, Daniel” series for Snapchat; “Ellen’s Pet Dish,” an animated series featuring her pets from Warner Bros.’ digital production studio Blue Ribbon Content; a series starring 4-year-old whiz kid and viral sensation Brielle; and new episodes of “tWitch & Allison’s Dance Challenge.”
“I’m so excited for the Ellen Digital Network. I’ll get to showcase amazing talents like Tyler Oakley and tWitch,” DeGeneres said in announcing the new slate. “Plus, I’ll finally prove to the world that my pets can speak in human voices.”
The move by Ellen Digital Ventures, a partnership with Warner Bros. Television, builds on her status as one of the Internet’s top TV personalities and overall content creators online. Her properties include digital-video hub ellentube, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” website at EllenTV.com, her official YouTube channel as well as a massive social-media fanbase. DeGeneres’ videos generated more than 500 million cross-platform views in March 2016, and have crested 1 billion in recent months, according to Tubular Labs.
Ellen’s digital team announced the Ellen Digital Network at an event Wednesday in New York, timed to coincide with the two-week Digital Content NewFronts pitch-fest. The programming slate will provide advertising and brand-integration opportunities presented in a “positive, high-quality environment,” the company said.
The new Ellen Digital Network programming slate includes:
- “Damn, Daniel Boyz”: Ellen teams up with the creators of “Damn, Daniel,” Joshua Holz and Daniel Lara, for an original series about the viral phenomenon debuting on Snapchat later this year.
- “Ellen’s Pet Dish”: Animated series chronicling her pets’ adventures, including sassy small talk and comedic commentary on clips from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
- “She’s Brielle-iant”: Series for ellentube features Brielle Milla, the 4-year-old fan favorite from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” showcasing her smarts on topics including the periodic table, the human body and world geography.
- “tWitch & Allison’s Dance Challenge”: Six young dancers go head-to-head in dance-competition series on ellentube hosted and judged by choreographers Stephen “tWitch” Boss (the DJ for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and his wife, Allison Holker of “Dancing with the Stars.” The kids are vying for a chance to perform on an episode of “Ellen.”
- “#MadeByYou”: Weekly series featuring user-submitted clips, ranging from sleepy pets to mess-making toddlers, on ellentube.
- “Epic or Fail”: Ellen’s favorite game to play on her show has become a new series for ellentube, hosted by shorts-wearing “Ellen” staffer Andy Zenor, showcasing user-generated videos and letting viewers play along in real time.
Ellen Digital Ventures, founded in 2014, is led by Jill Braff, who serves as general manager and works with “Ellen” show executive producers Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner and Kevin A. Leman II.
On YouTube, TheEllenShow channel averages more than 300 million views per month from its nearly 16 million subscribers. On Twitter @TheEllenShow has more than 59 million followers and she has 24 million fans on Facebook for her show. She’s also huge on Instagram (28 million followers), Snapchat (average of 1 million views per day) and Vine (3.5 million followers).