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Machinima Gets in the Game

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Machinima's already won over the Halo geeks. Now it's going after the millions of Madden maniacs.

Today, the 10-year-old gamer media company, which has quietly amassed a large and loyal audience on YouTube, will roll out its third channel on the site, Machinima Sports. Premiering on the channel is the series Replay, which will consist of user-submitted sports game highlights, and Playmakers, which will recreate classic sports moments via games.

According to CEO Allen DeBevoise, Machinima already produces 24 original series and pumps out 600 animated clips per week. On YouTube alone, those shows reach over 23 million unique users monthly and have generated more than 1 billion streams.

Machinima tested the strategy of syndicating its content all over the Internet but decided to cultivate its YouTube fans. "It's a question of focus," DeBevoise said. "We found that you don't need a channel everywhere. YouTube is the biggest bang for our buck."

Kenji Arai, strategic partner manager at YouTube, credited Machinima with using several of his company's free tools, like YouTube Insight, to respond to its audience's viewing patterns—as well as to program more effectively. "Machinima really gets how to use YouTube," he said. "They don't just post a channel and let it sit there. The whole company thinks about its YouTube strategy."

In the past, Machinima's central strategy had been superserving hardcore gamers. Last December, Machinima debuted the channel Respawn, aimed at fans of shoot-'em-up games like Halo 3. But with Machinima Sports, the goal is to broaden both audience and advertiser base—which primarily consists of gaming publishers and movie studios.

"While a lot of sponsors are comfortable with traditional gaming, some are not," said DeBevoise. "This gives them an opportunity to reach gamers in a sporting context rather than gaming."