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Google Buys Gamer Video Site Twitch.TV For $1 Billion: Report

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:34pm PDT

Google Buys Gamer Video Site Twitch.TV For $1 Billion: ReportThe Google deal for Twitch.TV, rumbled around in Silicon Valley for months, now finally is cinched at around $1 billion — but not officially announced, according to the tech investor site VentureBeat. If true, the deal would bring into the Google fold one of the biggest sources of online video traffic that isn’t already Google’s YouTube division, which is spearheading the deal. The acquisition also would reinforce how hot the videogame sector has become for online entertainment, as millions of fans watch others play, and sometimes grab their own bit of notoriety by streaming their performances on Internet-connected PCs, the Sony PS4 or the Microsoft Xbox One.

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3BlackDot Hybrid Firm Emerges From Stealth Mode With Ex-’Duck Dynasty’, Machinima Execs, Top YouTubers

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:00am PDT

3BlackDot Hybrid Firm Emerges From Stealth Mode With Ex-’Duck Dynasty’, Machinima Execs, Top YouTubers3BlackDot – a hybrid entertainment company with gamer and social-media-marketing roots and composed of video production, game development, online influencer and integrated marketing units – has officially come out of stealth mode this morning. Company principals include two former Machinima executives (Angelo Pullen and Luke Stepleton) and two prominent YouTube personalities (SeaNanners, aka Adam Montoya, and TheSyndicateProject, aka Tom Cassell).

As well, Stepleton’s older brother, former Duck Dynasty co-executive producer Hank Stepleton, will join the organization as partner and head of Pickaxe, the company’s video-content production company. The first Pickaxe project will be a live-action short based on Zombie Killer Squad, the mobile title developed by the company’s game unit and released last November to substantial success. The trailer for the short will be shown at San Diego Comic-Con this week, at a lounge 3BlackDot will be running for its online influencers and others.

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Fullscreen Launches First Live Event For Its Digital Stars

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 10:17am PDT

Fullscreen Launches First Live Event For Its Digital StarsFullscreen, the big YouTube multi-channel network and talent management group, has launched its first live event, partnering with Warped Tour producer Kevin Lyman and his 4Fini company to feature some of its big online stars and other up-and-comers that it hopes to groom into big stars. The Intour 2014 event on Sept. 13 at the Pasadena Convention Center will feature appearances by Connor Franta, Ricky Dillon, Jc Caylen, Sam Tsui, JennXPenn, Alx James, Brent Rivera, Crawford Collins, WeeklyChris, Dylan Dauzat, Charity Vance, and FreshBigMouf. Tsui, Vance and Mouf are all musicians who will perform. The others, as generally happens in these big social-media-driven live events, will perform comedy, create behind-the-scenes social-media content for YouTube and Vine, meet with fans and otherwise entertain the devout audiences of 14- to 21-year-olds who are showing up in droves. Vidcon in Anaheim, produced by author and online star John Green and his co-starring brother Hank, recently drew 18,000 attendees, while earlier this month, RTX in Austin, backed by Rooster Teeth Productions, drew 30,000. Events by companies such as the Ryan Seacrest-backed Digitour frequently draw 15,000 to 20,000 attendees at events in cities such as Toronto and New York.

“It’s a vehicle for our Fullscreen talent to be with fans, experiment and create,” said Fullscreen SVP Larry Shapiro, the former CAA executive who heads the company’s talent-management unit. “It gives the fans an opportunity to say, ‘I was there,’ and it gives creators an opportunity to meet other people in that space.”

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‘Hello, My Name Is Doris’ Uploads YouTuber Anna Akana

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 5:14pm PDT

‘Hello, My Name Is Doris’ Uploads YouTuber Anna AkanaEXCLUSIVE: YouTube host and actress Anna Akana is the latest online personality to jump to the big screen. She’s joined Sally Field and New Girl‘s Max Greenfield in the cast of Haven Entertainment and Red Crown’s Hello, My Name Is Doris, the indie comedy directed by Michael Showalter from his script with Laura Terruso. Akana’s the YouTuber behind recent viral videos like the make-up tutorial spoof How To Put On Your Face, which has garnered 1.4M views in less than a month. (Watch it below.) She’s a prolific online creator whose channel boasts 60 million views and 900,000 subscribers, and last year wrote and starred in her own narrative feature Riley Rewind, scoring a none-too-shabby 20M views online. Read More »

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‘Academy Originals’ Mini-Docs Channel Filmmaking On AMPAS Site, YouTube

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 1:10pm PDT

‘Academy Originals’ Mini-Docs Channel Filmmaking On AMPAS Site, YouTubeThe Motion Picture Academy‘s new, and wide-ranging, weekly series of short videos talks about filmmaking of many kinds. Already, shorts posted on the two-month-old YouTube channel feature notables such as Mike White, Seth Rogen and Dustin Lance Black, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jurassic Park and a video portrait of inner-city filmmakers.

“It’s an opportunity to really further inspire people about filmmaking and viewing film,” said Josh Spector, the Academy’s Managing Director of Digital Media and Marketing. “We really look at movies from a broad spectrum. We’re not locked in, we’re not sponsored, there are no ads. That frees you from conventional wisdom about what videos can be. People refer to them more as short films or mini-docs.”

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CDS Buckles In For Online ‘Maximum Ride’ With James Patterson YA Franchise

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 6:00am PDT

CDS Buckles In For Online ‘Maximum Ride’ With James Patterson YA FranchiseCollective Digital Studio will create an online video series based on the young-adult franchise Maximum Ride from best-selling author James Patterson, the YouTube multi-channel network and production studio said today. Patterson has his hands full with non-book projects based on his novels these days, including an order last week from CBS for a straight-to-series TV adaptation of his thriller Zoo.

Maximum Ride fake trailerThe Maximum Ride fantasy series centers on a group of young human-bird hybrids who escape from a lab called The School, led by the eponymous heroine Maximum “Max’ Ride. The eight Patterson books have sold more than 30 million copies, and also have inspired a Japanese manga spinoff series. Read More »

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YouTuber Dilemma: Staying “Authentic” Amid 4K Cameras, Studio Money, Ad Dollars

By | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

YouTuber Dilemma: Staying “Authentic” Amid 4K Cameras, Studio Money, Ad DollarsAmid all the dealmaker swagger and pubescent screams at last week’s giant Vidcon gathering in Anaheim, CA, one nagging question kept presenting itself: how do YouTube creators stay “authentic” to their demanding and devoted fans even as cheaper/better tech, vaulting creative ambition and the desire to make a living keep pushing into the equation. It’s a complicated question for this fast-evolving new media platform.

deadline marketing badge_dbloomMost of the YouTube creators now boasting millions of followers started out with modest production values, technology and creative capabilities. Now, as those swooning Vidcon attendees can attest, the creators have fans, who have Expectations, which they share publicly and loudly. It’s a bit like the indie rock band that finally signs to a major label. Fans who thought they “discovered” and “owned” the band start screaming “sell-out.” It’s even worse now. Unlike in the days of Frank Sinatra, or Elvis Presley, or Shaun Cassidy, or the Backstreet Boys, fans can talk back to their favorite creators, and to each other, on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Reddit and other social-media sites and online communities. Too much deviation from fan expectations can be a killer. Read More »

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‘Raising Asia’ Docuseries On YouTube Star Asia Monet Ray To Debut On Lifetime

By | Sunday June 29, 2014 @ 6:16pm PDT

‘Raising Asia’ Docuseries On YouTube Star Asia Monet Ray To Debut On LifetimePint-size performer Asia Monet Ray, who made a huge YouTube splash with her athletic dance routines before appearing on Dance Moms and Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, both on Lifetime, will get a spinoff show of her own on the network, Raising Asia, a docuseries featuring the eight-year-old and her mother, Kristie.

The series will debut on Lifetime on July 29, and feature 14 half-hour episodes of the eight-year-old singer/dancer and her model mother, bodybuilder father and younger sister. The show will be produced by Dance Moms producer Collins Avenue, with Jeff Collins, Michael Hammond, Sandi Johnson, Bryan Stinson, Leola Westbrook, Eli Lehrer, Mary Donahue and Kimberly Chessler as executive producers.

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YouTube Stars Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart Announce YouTube Travel Show

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 4:15pm PDT

YouTube Stars Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart Announce YouTube Travel ShowHelbig, the former YouTube face of website MyDamnChannel who now hosts her own Youtube channel It’s Grace, announced the venture with production company Astronauts Wanted at Vidcon today in Anaheim during “Industry Day” of the giant fan festival. The  show, #HeyUSA, will launch July 1 and will be executive produced by Billy Parks and Nick Shore of Astronauts Wanted, the online-media shingle of former MTV CEO Judy McGrath. The show has “a little bit of a traditional show” mentality in it, Parks said, but still with lots of the interactive elements that make YouTube productions so much more involving for young fans. During shooting through the summer, the two online stars will be featured about three times a week in behind-the-scenes video shorts as they visit fan-suggested sights in eight U.S. cities. The weekly shorts would typically run 2- to 5-minutes long, Parks said. Another friend and YouTube notable, Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen, is also expected to appear. This fall, the site will post eight more -finished, longer episodes pulling together all the events in each city. “It’s dizzying if you don’t love the platform,” said Parks of the complicated two-way process of creating the show. “Here’s a great way to connect with an audience if you love the way this audience works. If you create varied platform-specific content, it gets less dizzying.”

Mamrie HartHelbig acknowledged the programming is a bit more ambitious than the kind of one-person-and-a-camera projects she’s typically been associated with. “It’s definitely … Read More »

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YouTube, Sirius XM Launch Music Top 15 Show With Jenna Marbles

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 11:29pm PDT

YouTube, Sirius XM Launch Music Top 15 Show With Jenna MarblesThe crossover between traditional media and the budding online creator world continues, as satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM and YouTube have joined to launch a weekly radio show, The YouTube 15, featuring emerging music artists on the online video service, to be hosted by Jenna Marbles, a burgeoning online star. The announcement comes ahead of the official start Thursday of Vidcon in Anaheim, the giant fan and industry gathering launched by The Fault in Our Stars author John Green and his brother, Hank, who together are YouTube powerhouse the Vlogbrothers.

jenna marbles bannerThe YouTube 15 will launch July 11 on the Hits 1 channel on SiriusXm, with additional replays each weekend. Marbles claims more than 13 million subscribers who’ve viewed her videos 1.5 billion times. The new deal takes advantage of the huge audience for emerging musicians on YouTube, where younger audiences overwhelmingly are turning to discover music in very large numbers.

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Ex-YouTube Executives Launch Victorious Mobile App Platform For Online Stars

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

Ex-YouTube Executives Launch Victorious Mobile App Platform For Online StarsIf it feels like the online media business is in the middle of a gold rush, you’re right. The latest example: three former Google/YouTube executives and the co-creator of an Emmy-nominated app this morning publicly  launched Victorious after operating in stealth mode most of the past year. It’s a platform that lets online stars create their own personally branded mobile apps. It brings together their Website and online feeds not just on YouTube, but on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and other sites, while letting them wrap advertising, e-commerce and merchandise sales around their content. It also makes it easy for fans to remix and share content by and about the star with other fans on the app and beyond. The company is led by CEO Sam Rogoway, Chief Creative Officer Bing Chen and CTO Michael Todd, with Executive Chairman Dean Gilbert, who most recently was one of YouTube’s top executives as VP, Global Head of Content and Operations.

Sam Rogoway, CEO of VictoriousThe company already has signed deals with high-profile YouTubers Michelle Phan, Boyce Avenue and Ryan Higa, the kind of prominent digital stars who may be making solid money through their share of ad dollars attracted by their big YouTube followings, but also through appearances in fan festivals, merchandise sales, content licensing and more. Typically, such stars have an online presence on more than one social-media platform, but no actual control of the fan base they build there. Rogoway and Chen say the digital stars are essentially “renting” … Read More »

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Tech Bits: Vsauce Passes 1B Views; Vessel Launches; Singer’s New Gig

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 6:29pm PDT

Tech Bits: Vsauce Passes 1B Views; Vessel Launches; Singer’s New GigEven in the hyperventilating world of online media, 1 billion views is A Very Big Number. So accordingly, the enthusiastically geeky guys behind the three Vsauce YouTube channels were in a mood to celebrate after passing that major milestone. The three producer/hosts — Michael Stevens, Kevin Lieber and Jake Roper — presided over a panel and party at the YouTube Space L.A. on Monday night, and looked forward in a separate interview to what may be possible for the sites, which collectively have accumulated more than 12 million followers and those billion views in just about four years of short, peppy and slightly off-kilter takes on science and much else. Stevens, the original channel’s founder, says what makes all three channels distinctive is “the attitude or perspective we take, whether we’re talking black holes or chocolate cake: curious, optimistic and thinking tangentially.”
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Tech Briefs: Lionsgate Elevates Thomas Hughes to EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution; Dates Set For CES 2015; More

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 7:27pm PDT

Tech Briefs: Lionsgate Elevates Thomas Hughes to EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution; Dates Set For CES 2015; MoreLionsgate has promoted Thomas Hughes, a sign, the company says, of how much importance it places on emerging online and alternate video-delivery platforms. As EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution, Hughes will oversee sales and distribution efforts in on-demand and digital video, including more than 25 digital retailers, mobile platforms and multichannel video providers. He’ll be reporting to Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s Thomas HughesPresident of Worldwide TV & Digital Distribution, and continue to work closely with international TV exec Peter Iacono on global digital and VOD markets. Hughes had been SVP Worldwide Digital, and previously served under Packer at MGM as VP Worldwide Digital. Among his notable projects at Lionsgate has been the pioneering day-and-date releases of Arbitrage and Margin Call on VOD and in theaters.  

Consumer Electronics Show Gets A 2015 Date
Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 3.18.59 PMCES, the mammoth electronics confab that overruns the Las Vegas Convention Center and so much of the rest of that city each year, has set its dates for 2015. The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the show, says it will be run from JAnuary 6-9. For more info or to get signed up really, really, really early, go to CESweb.org. The CES site for the event already has info for hotel rooms, registration, and so much else. No link to the site for orthopedic walking shoes you’ll need after hiking across … Read More »

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YouTube Space LA Now Crossover Central As Online Meets Film, TV Projects

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 5:18pm PDT

YouTube Space LA Now Crossover Central As Online Meets Film, TV ProjectsThe all-comers creative space that YouTube has built in a mammoth former Hughes Aircraft hangar in L.A.’s Playa Vista neighborhood is rapidly becoming Crossover Central, as notable YouTube video creators based there work with studios and networks to create online companions to bigger media brands such as Star Wars, Godzilla and now BBC America‘s Almost Royal catfish-out-of-water reality series. The Star Wars project was relatively small, based around the annual May 4 (“May the Fourth be with you”) celebrations of that durable franchise, using a replica of the famous cantina scene in the original film. The YouTube operation helped Star Wars marketers pick four YouTube creators, who got to shoot episodes of their respective programs on the Cantina set.

Deadline Marketing Column Logo David BloomA similar but much bigger effort this spring at the YouTube Space LA involved Godzilla in a cross-media project of a scale worthy of its gargantuan namesake. Legendary Film marketing execs came up with the idea of bringing in an actual set from the latest installment, a command bunker, then got sign-off from partners Warner Bros and YouTube in just a couple of weeks. The set, along with a destructible version of the San Francisco skyline, was installed in the YouTube Space LA studios. Legendary and Warner Bros chose 30 programming proposals from about 100 video creators recruited by YouTube, then set them loose on the set, said Legendary’s Pearl Wible. The ones chosen were pulled from many different sectors of YouTube content, ranging from Michelle Phan‘s beauty advice (Godzilla really, really could use some good moisturizer, now that I think of it) to Nerdist (which did a series of “Godzilla Week” segments tied to the film’s run-up) to hard science. Read More »

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E3: Games Frontrunner Sony To Launch $99 PlayStation TV, YouTube, ‘Powers’ Show, Much More

By | Monday June 9, 2014 @ 8:57pm PDT

Sony PlayStation TV stageSony’s PS4 videogame console will get a new game-playing cousin in the U.S. and Canada this fall, the PlayStation TV, a $99 video device that can play older PlayStation and PS Vita games on a TV set with a standard Sony game controller. A bundle including the device, a controller, an HDMI cable, a memory card and a voucher for the Lego Movie game will cost $139. It will also be able to play the next installment of Disney’s massively successful Infinity hybrid game, which uses physical figurines to unlock a variety of different kinds of game play, when that launches early next year. E3 logoThe PlayStation TV, under a slightly different name, has been available in Japan previously.

It was announced at Sony’s big pre-E3 presentation tonight to media and analysts, but it could lead to a much wider reach for Sony’s PlayStation platform in North America by giving access to many games from Sony’s PS Vita handheld platform, plus the upcoming PlayStation Now service that will provide access to hundreds of older games from previous PlayStation consoles. The device’s launch in the U.S. also thrusts Sony into the already crowded race with Apple, Roku, Google, Amazon and others selling inexpensive Net-enabled devices that can bring new kinds of content to a dumb traditional TV screen. The difference for Sony may be the access the new device will provide to a deep library of hundreds of older video games, which also will become available over the coming months on all of Sony’s existing game devices as well. You can watch just the part of the two-hour announcement focused on the PlayStation TV here:

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UTA Signs ‘Action Movie Kid’ Viral Video Creator Daniel Hashimoto

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 2:10pm PDT

actionmoviekidEXCLUSIVE: After racking up more than 32 million views with his series of Action Movie Kid YouTube shorts, visual effects animator Daniel “Hashi” Hashimoto has signed with UTA with an eye toward moving into feature film directing. The longtime DreamWorks Animation VFX pro went viral only a few months ago with special effects-enhanced homemade shorts starring his 3-year-old son James, which he edited in Adobe After Effects to transform the tyke’s daily life into super-powered adventures. They landed the How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2 animator on Good Morning America and snagged him a deal creating branded content around several toy lines. He’s still got his DWA day job but will work with the agency on finding directorial opportunities and on expanding the Action Movie Kid IP into books, products, and feature spinoffs. He is also repped by attorney Phil Daniels. Here’s a compilation of Action Movie Kid‘s “adventures” so far:

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DeadlineNow: How Social Media Made #TFIOS A Star (Video)

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 5:04pm PDT
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'The Fault In Our Stars' Movie Already A Success

A book adored by the right demographic, stars with big social media presence, a killer trailer and a savvy campaign by Fox has the movie poised for out-of-this-world box office launch. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Related: #TFIOS: Fans Find No Fault in ‘Stars’ Social Media Ahead Of Debut

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‘Pitch Perfect 2′ Adds German YouTuber Flula Borg

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 6:04pm PDT

Flula Borg Pitch Perfect 2EXCLUSIVE: Now that Pitch Perfect 2 has its original stars back, director Elizabeth Banks is adding some new aca-flavor to her cast. German DJ, comedian, musician, actor, hype-man, host, and YouTube personality Flula Borg is the latest to join the Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films musical sequel about college a cappella singers vying for competitive crooning kudos.

The Bavarian-born LA transplant has amassed over 45M views on his YouTube channel and appeared on Spike’s Auction Hunters, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Current TV. Character details are being kept under wraps but I hear he’ll be playing a member of a competing a cappella group opposite returning Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, and Skyler Astin. As with other YouTubers trying to make the leap from digital fame to other platforms, it could be a springboard for Borg’s budding acting career. Workaholics sketch performer Adam DeVine, who’s also back for the sequel, had a breakout turn in the first film playing the over-the-top captain of a rival a cappella squad. Read More »

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Lionsgate Signs YouTube Pranksters The Janoskians To Movie Deal

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 5:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

janoskiansEXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has made a deal with the YouTube prank crew The Janoskians to develop a feature film star vehicle for the group. The film label will try to harness a rabid online following and turn it into a movie ticket buyers. The Janoskians, who are born and bred on the Internet and provide a mix of the outrageous with some social commentary, have developed an enormous YouTube following since making their debut in 2011. Their fan base has grown to more than 15 million followers and 200 million views. They’ve spread their brand to include a sold-out worldwide Live Nation tour last year, a clothing line called Dirty Pig, a record deal with Republic Records, and a video game on iTunes/Android called Ouch! Couch. Their personal appearances in malls from Los Angeles to New York and London resulted in closings and evacuations because of crowd-control issues. Now, if all goes well, they will be movie stars.

Related: YouTube Touts New DreamWorksTV Channel As It Promotes Itself As An Ad-Friendly Platform

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