Warner Bros. to Develop Content for Marketers

Sep 4, 2006  •  Post A Comment

In the most aggressive move yet by a Hollywood studio to get into digital content and partner with advertisers, Warner Bros. is launching a division designed to create short-form broadband and mobile content for marketers. Aimed at satisfying advertisers’ growing thirst for original content and digital platforms, the division, dubbed Studio 2.0, will begin at the earliest stages to find ways to integrate brands and develop programming specifically for ad sponsorship. Ad industry veteran Rich Rosenthal, who spent the last decade at Young & Rubicam-most recently as head of production and executive VP-will head the venture. -T.L. STANLEY, ADVERTISING AGE

Combined IDT, Starz to Produce Programming

Liberty Media said it combined its IDT Entertainment unit and Starz Entertainment Group into Starz LLC. The new company will produce live-action and animated programming including feature films, series, specials and shorts. Robert Clasen, who had been president and CEO of Starz Entertainment Group, was named chairman of Starz LLC. “Our new company will produce all kinds of programming and distribute through all platforms,” Mr. Clasen said. The company’s original productions will have guaranteed distribution via the Starz and Encore pay cable channels, as well as through the Vongo broadband service. Chris McGurk was named a senior adviser for new ventures at Starz Media, which had previously been known as IDT. -JON LAFAYETTE

Video Fastest-Growing Online Ad Segment

Online video is the fastest-growing segment of the $16.7 billion Internet advertising market and will increase more than 71 percent this year, research firm eMarketer reported last week. By 2010, video ads will account for 8 percent of the $29.4 billion total online take for that year. EMarketer said Internet video ad dollars will nearly triple this year to $640 million, up from $225 million in 2005. By 2010, that figure will swell to $2.3 billion, the firm said. The rapid rise is due to the quick pace at which television networks, traditional marketers and new participants such as YouTube have introduced video onto the Web in the past year.-DAISY WHITNEY

CBS Paramount Clears Remastered `Trek’

Syndicator CBS Paramount Domestic Television is releasing digitally remastered episodes of the original “Star Trek” series, with all-new special effects and music, to celebrate the billion-dollar sci-fi franchise’s 40th anniversary. This marks the first time in 16 years that the original “Star Trek” series can be seen in broadcast syndication. The episodes will begin airing on the more than 200 stations that own the rights to the weekend syndication window starting Sept. 16. All 79 episodes will eventually be remastered and converted from film into high-definition video format.-CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA

Twentieth TV, Shine Plan Live Daytime Series

News Corp.’s Twentieth Television and Elisabeth Murdoch’s U.K.-based production company Shine are producing an American version of the live series “My Games Fever” for all the Fox-owned and -operated MyNetworkTV stations, to debut in December. The two-hour, commercial-free weekday show consists of multiple games that involve home viewers through text messaging and online interaction. “Fever” will air Monday through Friday, 1-3 p.m. (ET) and noon-2 p.m. (CT), with a second show shot each day for a West Coast feed.-CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA

NBC Developing `Crashers’ Into Reality Series

NBC is developing a reality series, “The Real Wedding Crashers,” inspired by the 2005 New Line Cinema comedy feature film “The Wedding Crashers.” The series will be produced by New Line Television and Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Films and will feature hidden cameras that will record improvisational actors who go undercover at real weddings. No premiere date has been set.-CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA