60Frames Entertainment. 60Frames will work with top on-screen talent and directors on the "financing, ad sales and syndication of professionally-produced online content." The company has raised $3.5 million in Series A financing.United Talent Agency, a Hollywood talent agency that represents big stars like Liv Tyler, Ben Stiller, Harrison Ford and the Coen Brothers, has teamed up with advertising agency Spot Runner to create
Among the first professional producers to work with 60Frames will be sibling writer-director team Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou), who will serve on the company's creative advisory board as well as develop content. The CEO of the company is Brent Weinstein, who joined UTA in 2001 as an agent specializing in new media and has negotiated interactive deals for Jim Carrey and Johnny Depp, among others.
"The Internet is radically transforming entertainment and advertising, and 60Frames is in the position to be at the forefront of this revolution. In the same way that television developed iconic brands in the last century, 60Frames will help professional artists to create new formats, characters and stories that will be the brands of the 21st century." - Brent Weinstein
The jump to Internet movie studio is not far off for either company. Spot Runner, which uses the Internet to sell discount television ad placements to small businesses, is partially owned by ad conglomerate WPP, who made a huge splash in May by purchasing online ad giant 24/7 Real Media for $649 million. UTA, meanwhile, formed an online division last year to recruit web video talent. In a way, 60Frames is an extension of that endeavor. And, they already rep arguably the biggest Internet video star: lonelygirl15, Jessica Rose.
With advertising revenue from user generated content expected to hit $4.3 billion by 2011 according to research firm eMarketer, it is no wonder that old media is trying to adapt. There is clearly an appetite among viewers for web video and media companies are starting to try and figure out how to cash in.
Earlier this year former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner also bet on web video, with his Internet serial Prom Queen. His production company put out 80 short episodes on a minuscule budget of $100,000. The show was a runaway success on MySpace, which hundreds of thousands of plays and nearly 27,000 fans (friends) on its profile.
I expect to see more "old media" ventures into the new media space. Eisner told NewTeeVee last March that he didn't view Prom Queen as web video, but rather as a professional production using a new distribution format. As more media companies recognize the potential audience on the Internet, I think we will see more professional production come to web video.