Digital Dealmakers

Michael Wayne, Co-Founder and CEO of DECA

The player: Michael Wayne, co-founder and CEO of digital studio DECA.

Michael Wayne

The play: DECA is a digital studio that funds, markets and distributes digital shows. The company makes money via advertising support for its shows.

The pitch: DECA’s focus is on nurturing talent and personalities who are unique to the Web, Mr. Wayne said. In addition, DECA aims to bring brands early on into Web-centric content that they feel comfortable sponsoring. The company’s projects include Momversation, Project Lore and Smosh. These all have a Web ethos but are also brand-safe for many advertisers, Mr. Wayne said. DECA has stuck deals with brands including Activision, Bank of America, Blizzard, Falcon Northwest, IBM, Target, Verizon and Visa.

In the mix: DECA competes with other digital studios including Agility, Moderati, Next New Networks and Revision3.

The money guys: Founded in 2007, DECA is funded by Mayfield Fund, General Catalyst, Rustic Canyon and Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. DECA closed a $15 million round of financing late last year.

The pros: Deca has carved out a handful of online niches already with mommy bloggers, online gamers and YouTube stars.

The cons: Like most digital studios, DECA is banking on advertisers making commitments to Web video during a time when they are reluctant to spend money.

Background: Mr. Wayne received his bachelor of arts in English literature from the University of the South. He previously worked as VP of strategic alliances for Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Pictures Television and also worked at Launch Media.


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