Google Inc.'s YouTube announced the launch of a new channel devoted to women in advance of a presentation to advertisers and brands, concluding a two-week-long series of marketing pitches by the leading distributors of online entertainment.
"Black Swan" executive producer Jon Avnet and "Albert Nobs" director Rodrigo Garcia joined together to create WIGS, a YouTube channel of original scripted dramas and short films about women. Avnet and actress Virginia Madsen, who is best known for her role as Maya in the 2004 film "Sideways," were expected to take the stage Wednesday at New York's Beacon Theatre to tout the partnership with YouTube.
"We're giving a sneak peek into what we have been doing for the last 12 months," said Robert Kyncl, global head of content for YouTube, in a briefing with reporters. "We're hosting 1,000-plus marketers to show them what we have done."
YouTube was among the five major technology players — along with AOL Inc., Hulu, Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. — that joined together this year, for the first time, in a coordinated series of marketing presentations called the Digital Content NewFront. The digital players previewed original series in hopes of coaxing Madison Avenue to spend more money online — borrowing a page from the television networks, which have staged such showcases for years.
At the same time, Amazon.com said it would develop original comedy and children's series through its Amazon Studios. The studio asked series creators to submit proposals to its content division, which launched in 2010 and has 15 movie projects in development.
Amazon Studios will option one project a month and test it with audiences. If the online channel distributes the series, its creator will receive a $55,000 payment and up to 5% of the net receipts from toy and T-shirt licensing and other royalties.
The online retailer has been expanding its content offerings, signing a deal this year with Viacom Inc. that allows subscribers to its Amazon Prime service to stream TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and other Viacom-owned cable networks. Amazon is building a collection of film and television shows to be viewed online or via its tablet computer, the Kindle Fire.
YouTube, meanwhile, has devoted $100 million to lure Hollywood professionals to the dominant online video site and create programmed, television-like channels that target entertainment niches.
On Wednesday, YouTube said the U.S. Olympic Committee has launched a new channel, TeamUSA, to highlight hopefuls competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and medalists from years past.
Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival, teamed up with YouTube partner Maker Studios to create a new channel, the Picture Show, which premieres later this year.
These new channels join some 40 to 50 that have already launched as part of YouTube's premium content initiative.