NewFronts 2015: Disney company launches strategic initiatives with Marvel, ESPN’s X Games and ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions
Maker Studios, the largest content network on YouTube and a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, unveiled a slate of original programming and strategic initiatives at the company’s second annual newfront on Tuesday.
The coming series were toplined by “Camp,” an adaptation from James Franco‘s “Palo Alto: Stories.”
In addition to showcasing upcoming original content, Maker Studios announced collaborations with media brands and agencies, as well as several divisions of its parent company: Maker and Marvel will focus on original digital content and programming based on Marvel lore and current releases; Maker and the X Games will pair action sports stars with innovative content creators worldwide; and Maker and ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions will collaborate on nonfiction storytelling around politics and culture.
Maker also introduced its proprietary ad solution Maker Select, and unveiled new talent signings, such as the aforementioned Zoe.
The presentation featured appearances by designer Rachel Zoe, David Milchard and Matthew Clarke of “Convos with my 2-year-old,” P’Trique of “Sh*t Fashion Girls Say,” actress and host Taryn Southern, and digital comedian Lisa Schwartz.
Maker President Ynon Kreiz, Chief Content Officer Erin McPherson, Head of Sales Jason Krebs and Chief Strategy Officer Courtney Holt presented. Other featured executives included MiTú Network Chief Revenue Officer Charlie Echeverry, LiquidThread Global Head of Business Development & Senior Vice President Juan Davila and DigitasLBi Chief Content Officer Scott Donaton.
Below is the upcoming Maker slate, in the studio’s own words.
Original Programming (all series’ names are working titles)
- “Camp” – A coming-of-age story, adapted from James Franco‘s “Palo Alto: Stories,” set in a fictional summer camp in the idyllic woodlands outside of the Bay Area. Campers explore their own sexualities, confront their teenage fears, and grow up together – navigating drama, making each other laugh, and forging the greatest memories of their young lives. From short story to short-form, the series is the first in a line of original content from theRabbit Bandini_LAB, part of Maker_LABS.
- “Fashpad” – From the creators of “CrashPad” comes a new rapid-fire roundtable where fashion sensation P’Trique hosts guests in the Quad to highlight what matters most in the world…fashion!
- “Fast or Fancy” – What happens when Daym Drops and Amy Pham team up to face off with their taste buds? Find out on this new series where high and low food culture battle for bragging rights. White Castle slider or Minetta Tavern Black Label burger? Red O braised short rib taco or the El Chato Taco Truck’s al pastor taco? Fast or Fancy?
- “The Look of Knowing: Part 2” – Inspired by the hit mini-series “The Look of Knowing,” CutiePieMarzia continues her adventures in the next chapter of this dark and quirky story–this time featuring Maya’s two pugs. Its “Coraline” meets “The Cowardly Dog” meets the unique vision and storytelling of CutiePieMarzia.
- “Maker Tales” – Classic fairy tales such as King Midas, Pinocchio, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood are reimagined as music videos by some of Maker’s biggest stars including Tessa Violet, Iman Crosson, Dodger, Timothy DeLaGhetto, and more.
- “Nursery Rhyme Mashups” – Join Maruki, Tooki, and Chuki on their animated adventures, where they combine classic nursery rhymes with modern musical genres for a perfect sing-along series.
- “Party Girl” – A scripted comedy created by Lisa Schwartz that tells the story of an overachieving superstar, played by Lisa herself, who is forced to take a humiliating low-wage job and learns that it ain’t easy to make an honest living.
- “Polaris Animated Universe” – The most popular online gamers and animators collide in an original anthology series bringing mash-ups, parodies, and fan-favorite moments to life from popular “Let’s Play” series and podcasts. Fresh and spontaneous, each format is an homage to the storied franchises and larger-than-life personalities that unite the gaming community around the world.
- “The Taryn Show” – Who’s better at matchmaking, your friends or Tinder? What does a Facebook poke actually feel like? What if we could only communicate in 140 characters or less? Welcome to the world’s first late-night interactive digital experiment in web culture that features sketch comedy, interviews, and whatever else the interweb asks for–hosted by resident web geek Taryn Southern.
- “This is Why You’re Single” – A scripted series about two shallow, narcissistic, and oftentimes reprehensible BFFs who find themselves in relatable but elevated situations as they search for love (or a sugar-daddy, whatever’s easiest) in this absurd and excruciating look at dating in the modern world.
- “Toddler Tonight” – From the creators of “Convos with my 2-year-old” comes a new comedy that takes an irreverent look at kids through the lens of celebrity. “Entertainment Tonight,” “TMZ,” and “Fashion Police” get the toddler treatment by putting a paparazzi lens on kids eating what they shouldn’t, taking dance classes and sitting on the beach, a.k.a. doing what kids would normally do, but having adults provide comedic, color commentary along the way.
- “Toy Detective” – A live-action mystery adventure that follows unboxing superstar EvanTube as he solves mysteries for toys (as Ace Ventura did for pets) with the help of sister Jillian and other YouTube friends. The EvanTubeHD Detective Agency quickly gets in over its head, falling victim to hilarious hijinks and ridiculous twists on their quest to solve crimes.
- “Traveling Band” – A fresh new format from Portal A–a medley of music, comedy, and travel–the musical group The Gregory Brothers star in a semi-scripted mockumentary following their travels around the world, collaborating with unusual guests and being caught in unexpected situations. What happens when they realize 30 minutes before curtain in Vietnam that they have to make food and feed everyone in the audience? It’s the tour of a lifetime and we’re along for the ride.
- “American Woman” – In collaboration with ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions comes an irreverent docuseries about the women who made America great. Maker talent will ride through revolutionary history in search of the tough mothers who helped create our young nation, starting with the original 13 colonies, a map and a dream to uncover the women behind the men.
- “I Am Maker” – Emmy Award-winning producers World of Wonder team with Maker and ABC Family to share an unprecedented look at what it takes to become a YouTube star today. Inspired by the roots of Maker, the series is an aspirational docuseries that follows a group of content creators who live together and are mentored by the biggest online talent.
And here are some of Maker’s current and upcoming strategic initiatives, descriptions once again in the studio’s own words:
Collaborations With Disney Divisions
Maker has been working with divisions across The Walt Disney Company including Marvel, ESPN, and ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions to develop new and unique content. Maker and Marvel will focus on original digital content and programming based on Marvel lore and current releases, celebrating the global Marvel fan universe; Maker and the X Games will pair the best action sport athletes with the most innovative content creators worldwide, delivering cutting edge content year-round; and Maker and ABC’s Emmy Award-winning Lincoln Square Productions will collaborate on nonfiction storytelling around politics and culture–kicking off with the original series “American Woman,” and continuing with a slate of other programming leading up to the 2016 election.
Agency and Network Initiatives
Maker will work with leading agency DigitasLBi to create a Digitas_LAB, an industry-first opportunity focused on co-creation of content, production, cross-platform distribution, and media. The Maker_LAB model merges data-driven insights with creative content and distribution.
MiTú, an online video network and leader in Hispanic influence, will collaborate with Maker on a content arrangement with Starcom MediaVest Group’s LiquidThread. The initiative will fund the development of original series, social media programs and influencer formats, leveraging Maker and MiTú’s technology and creativity across platforms.
Ad Product Solutions
Maker has teamed with Outrigger Media and their OpenSlate platform to launch Maker Select, a new proprietary ad solution for media buying. Maker Select combines industry-leading tools on targetable metrics like content quality, brand safety and subject matter expertise with OCR (Online Campaign Ratings) guarantees for demographic targeting and transparency for ad placements. Maker Select will not only be available within the Maker network but throughout YouTube. DigitasLBi and Starcom MediaVest Group, among other media brands, will offer clients access to Maker Select providing them proprietary data, targeted audiences, guaranteed viewership, favorable pricing, and ultimately a lens on the most valued programming on YouTube.
Maker also showcased the Maker Offers ad product dedicated to scaling branded entertainment and social influencer campaigns. Announced at last year’s NewFront, Offers allows brands to activate campaigns across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and more, all while providing campaign performance metrics across platforms. In its first year, Offers has run hundreds of campaigns through its platform.
New talent who have recently joined Maker include Rachel Zoe, world-renowned designer, author, entrepreneur and the ultimate arbiter of style; Taryn Southern, actress and comedian; Lisa Schwartz, multi-faceted online comedian–from parodies to heartfelt vlogs; Meghan Camarena also known as Strawburry17, one of the stars of the hit web series “Video Game High School,” on TV in “The Amazing Race” and “Fake-Off”, and multi-faceted digital talent and creator–from gaming to food to DIY; Ssundee, one of the biggest kid-friendly Minecraft gamers online; Paul Heyman, professional wrestling commentator and legend; Jerry Purpdrank, comedian and global Vine superstar; Christian DelGrosso, global Vine phenomenon; and SierraMarieMakeup, top fashion and beauty guru, to name a few.