News Corp.’s young male gamer hub IGN.com has quietly initiated a major expansion of its original video output with the launch of a new video-centric channel and several original-content partnerships.
For the first time, IGN has inked deals with a range of third-party content producers, including popular fratboy humor sites
College Humor and Comedy.com, as well as Black20 Digital, the company behind the viral hit “The Easter Bunny Hates You.”
Other partners include independents ScrewAttack.com and Machinima, creators of videogame-skewering videos. Each studio has committed to produce either an original series or project for IGN, which, in some cases, will get exclusive distribution rights.
IGN plans to showcase the library of new licensed content with its own growing roster of originals on a new channel, Video.ign.com, which went live in beta form late last week. IGN already landed a sponsor in sister company Fox Broadcasting, which used the channel to promote the movie 24: Redemption, which aired Nov. 23.
Though the site has long featured video (IGN led the gaming category with 12.5 million streams in September, per comScore), most of that content has taken the form of videogame reviews, interspersed throughout its editorial content. But in recent months, IGN built its own studio and introduced several new series, including the instructional IGN_Strategize, launched in March, and the news-oriented IGN Game Scoop, which debuted in June.
The idea, said Roy Bahat, general manager of IGN Entertainment, is to translate to video what the 10-year-old brand has traditionally provided in text form: content that appeals to 18-34-year-old males drawn to videogames and entertainment content overall. “This is an audience that is not well served by traditional media,” he said.
It is an audience advertisers continue to chase, yet one that is especially costly to reach via Web video, said Laurel Bernard, senior vp, media at Fox. “There are some very expensive, cool ways to do it [like on Hulu], or the other way is user-generated content,” she said. “As a mid-level advertiser, it’s hard to fit in a lot of this with your budget. I like the idea of them creating new content and providing some level of quality and control.”