Joining a host of production houses from startups to media powerhouses, Warner Brothers will release a wide offering of original video programming for Internet distribution.
The new programming, expected to be revealed today in greater detail, reverses an initial strategy that aimed to offload production costs onto advertisers. Instead, as part of revitalized web strategy that includes a television spin off of their site TMZ.com and a planned animation-only video portal (called T-Works) , Warner is planning to spend at least $3m for web production.
The slate of content will include at least 24 productions in formats ranging from games and serials to short films. Among the titles is a comedy called "Viral" about a struggle inside a movie studio, an episodic series about a soccer mom called “The Jeannie Tate Show”, and a puppet comedy from the Jim Henson Company.
The programming will be syndicated around the net through various distribution partnerships including with RealNetworks, Joost and other video portals. Ads to support the efforts will be sold through Warner’s in house media sales group.
The new programming will join an onslaught of professional efforts rapidly flooding the marketplace including content from Michael Eisner’s studio Vuguru, 60 Frames Entertainment (which was funded in July and has the creative talents of the Coen Brothers participating), Crackle (from Sony), and National Banana (which has the creative help of Jerry Zucker).
The move by Warner is only one of many expected over the next few months. Other higher profile announcements will show, according to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Brothers Television Group, “how dedicated [Warner is] to this business.”