Break Media, the fast-growing digital media company, which specializes in drawing young males to properties such as viral video hubs Break.com and Chickipedia, has announced the formation of an internal production team dubbed Creative Lab, which will focus on the development of original content.
According to Break executives, Creative Lab will pull together established writers, directors and producers from the world of online video to create both branded entertainment series for advertisers as well as original humor videos for Break.com, frequently the home of sophomoric clips such as Chick Faceplants Jumping Over Chair. The company has tapped Jonathan Small to head up Creative Lab’s editorial efforts. Meanwhile Tara Leone, who was previously Break’s director of content and licensing, will serve as the group’s vp of production and distribution.
In the past, Break.com, which reaches 14.7 million users (comScore), has pulled content from a vareity of suppliers. For example, the site serves as one of many distribution outlet for shows produced by digital content studios like 60Frames. In addition, the site has frequently licensed its share of exclusive projects, including Record Breakers, which was produced by Endemol USA and Breakers and was created for Break.com by NBC Universal Digital Studios.
But with Creative Lab, Break.com appears to be pushing more towards distributing its own material, even as the market for original online video series has become all the more saturated (see this earlier report).
Break CEO Keith Richman acknowledged that the market was growing more competitive but pointed to the company’s recent success with branded entertainment content, which he claims has generated over 35 million views in just the past few months. “We are always looking for the best content, so I don’t see [licensing going away],” he told Mediaweek. “We recently reupped with the NBA and did a deal with Crackle for Sony Pictures as well. We just want to throw our own content into the mix.”
Richman also pointed to Break Media’s ad revenue success as evidence that it is well positioned to push past competitors (the company saw revenue soar 100 percent in 2008 versus 2007, he claims). “I think we have as much chance as anyone to crack the code [on original online video]. “We have the content distribution and production capabilities and the data of what has worked historically. Even more important...is that we have the world’s largest male 18-34 focus group through which we can test concepts”