By Sahil Patel
After committing to its first funded series in 2014, Vimeo is moving forward with its original programming plans for 2015. The IAC-owned video site has struck a multi-series deal with New Form Digital, the independent production venture from Discovery Communications and Hollywood producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
Per the deal, New Form Digital will bring two original series from YouTube stars PJ Liguori (KickThePJ) and Sawyer Hartman exclusively to Vimeo. The shows are adaptations of short films already created by Liguori and Hartman and released by New Form Digital as part of its first digital short-film incubator.
Liguori’s “Oscar’s Hotel” takes place in a surreal fantasy universe where new proprietor Oliver oversees his uncle’s magical boarding house. Along the way, he has to deal with upkeep of a place that’s occupied by mythical beasts, while also investigating his uncle’s disappearance. The short film the series is based on initially premiered on Liguori’s main YouTube channel, which has over 600,000 subscribers.
Hartman’s “Parallax” is a modern sci-fi drama that follows a young scientist who alone holds the knowledge of an imminent, cataclysmic meteor strike. Though he tries to warn people, he is ostracized by those who fear the truth, and struggles with a choice between a futile attempt to save humanity, or making “the ultimate sacrifice for his family.” The original short film also debuted on Hartman’s YouTube channel, which has more than 1.7 million subscribers.
Both Vimeo series will be available via Vimeo On Demand in 2015, running for 10 episodes each. Additional, exclusive content — including behind-the-scenes footage — will also be made available globally for purchases. Prices haven’t been determined yet.
Two additional series are also in development as part of the deal, though it’s not clear if Liguori, Hartman, or any of the other YouTubers in New Form Digital’s inaugural incubator are involved.