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Seven Video Content Pioneers to Watch

  |  May 19, 2009   |  Comments

Creative marketers should look to work with these content creators. The opportunities are unlimited.

One of the most exciting things about being a creative marketer today is there is so much opportunity for innovation and invention. The digital landscape has opened up the possibility for brands to lead in the development, creation, and distribution of video content, as well as shape the measurement and new models that transpire in the space. We now can get video out in front of the upfronts.

The same holds true for the pioneering content creators and studios that are writing, producing, shooting, and, in essence, reinventing storytelling within the digital space.

But where it really gets exciting is when the creative marketers and the content creators mingle. When they lean on each other for their expertise, shape the space together, explore the possibilities of shared audiences and experiences that complement each other rather than simply interrupt each other.

In "The Promise of UGC Video for Advertisers," I highlighted some of the most exciting companies developing content and partnering with marketers in the space a year ago. In celebration of these new pioneers, I've put together a list of some companies that continue to excite me and whom all creative marketers should be looking to partner with during the upfront season.

Blip

I've mentioned Blip quite a bit over the years. Not only because it is great to partner with, but its team works hard to ensure you meet your marketing goals. While Blip's team doesn't necessarily develop content ideas from scratch, it has deep connections with some of the most exciting and emerging talent in the space. Its network of independent shows and demographic verticals is ever-expanding, and it offers custom brand-integration and distribution solutions, depending on your specific needs -- two things that keep Blip continuously on my radar.

Next New Networks

The array of successful networks and shows Next New Networks has launched over the last couple years makes me wonder if it has figured out some magic formula for success. And with fearless leaders like Fred Seibert and Tim Shey, it's really hard to come up with a bad show idea. Plus, these guys really know their audience -- which helps not only in developing content but in pulling together a smart distribution strategy.

Deca

Deca is always surprising me. It really looks at the digital space as a blank canvas and constantly rethinks and reinvents what a content experience might look like. Some projects it's developed over the last year include the innovative vlogger aggregated show Momversation and expansion of the Smosh empire. And in addition to developing and expanding great shows, it also develops the brand utilities that surround shows and motivation strategies.

Eqal

Some would say Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried reinvented storytelling when they catapulted into the digital content space with their lonelygirl15. Since they launched that hit show three years ago, they've expanded into the U.K. market with the equally successful KateModern series and partnered with CBS in 2008 to create the cross-medium storytelling experience "Harper's Island" and Harper's Globe.

They're worth watching -- and so is their content.

Generate

Aside from developing 90 percent of the most popular shows on the WB over the past decade, Jordan Levin just knows and understands what people like to watch. And with the recent launch of Generate Insight, he now has a research division dedicated to ensuring the Internet shows they have in development will resonate with the audiences they are trying to reach. Its community of over 7,000 teens, tweens, young adults, and moms actively commenting, reviewing, and discussing content can help optimize your content before you release it to your wider audience. And with a conversational medium like the Internet, why not start early?

FM78

I recently got the chance to meet the smart team behind FM78, a digitally focused production company formed during the passionate 2007 writers' strike.

FM78's insight into the new digital content landscape and its connection and access to the best talent in the space, make it stand out from other digital studios. With writers, actors, directors, and the press ready and willing to partner with them, this company will do something big. I'm just hoping I'll be lucky enough to be a part of it.

Vimby

Vimby, or Video in My Back Yard, really captures the spirit of the video content being created for this site. Its network of "Preditor" (producer, shooter, editor) talent reaches deep and wide across America's subcultures. The content they produce is always an insider's view -- in the moment and authentic to the audiences they reach.

Over the last year Vimby has extended its network into local TV programming and video on demand in both New York and LA, as well as incorporated click-to-purchase VideoClix technology within its distributed player.

For a brand looking for a cost-effective way to reach a youth demographic and wanting to dive into live events (sporting, music, fashion, etc.), Vimby is a perfect choice for partnering.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christine Beardsell

As vice president, group creative director of Digitas's brand content group, The Third Act, Christine works across all brand teams to lead the creative innovation of motion media content. She has a unique and varied set of skills that weaves media, tech, and channel smarts to inform deep interactive experiences for clients such as American Express, Samsung, and IHG. At the advent of the digital revolution, she established Digitas' Final Cut Pro media lab and has since scaled it across offices.

Christine has a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, where she focused her studies on motion media, interactive design, and photography. Her work in the industry has contributed to top honors including silver and bronze Cyber Lions, a Caples Award, an OMMA Award, New York Festivals Awards, ECHO Awards, and The One Show Awards.

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