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NBCUniversal Rumored To Be Close To Investments In BuzzFeed, Vox

6 hours ago

NBCUniversal is eying two of the biggest companies in the digital media world. According to Recode, NBCU is “close” to closing a pair of deals that would give it stake in BuzzFeed and Vox.

Like many other companies that run big TV businesses, NBCU is trying to figure out how to negotiate a changing landscape in which many young people are cutting the cord and consuming the majority of their media intake online. BuzzFeed and Vox, which both feature youthful sensibilities and have many of the same visitors in common, can both help NBCU established a bigger digital presence.

Exact monetary values for the investments aren’t known, but Record believes NBCU is considering a $1.5 billion valuation for BuzzFeed and an $850 valuation for Vox. Both digital media publishers have raised big rounds of venture capital in the past year; BuzzFeed raised $50 million in August 2014, and Vox scored its own $46.5 million round three months later. »

- Sam Gutelle

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Jukin Media Raises $2 Million In Funding From Samsung Ventures

6 hours ago

Jukin Media has a little bit more financial wiggle room. The viral video network has raised $2 million in funding from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (Samsung Ventures).

Jukin Media’s entire business is based on monetizing and licensing viral, user-generated video clips. However, the new funds from Samsung will provide Jukin greater flexibility to grow some of its developing departments and original projects. Jukin’s President and COO Lee Essner said in a release that the company has “several profitable and expanding business units, which is rare for a company at this stage.”

“Although we have always funded the company solely from operations and have not yet touched any previously raised investor capital, the Samsung Venture investment gives us maximum flexibility to expand our investment in tech and original production, both of which have been pivotal factors in our sustained growth,” Essner explained.

Jukin Media raised roughly $1 million from Maker Studios »

- Bree Brouwer

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Short Film From Former Pixar Animator Comes To Facebook’s Oculus Rift

7 hours ago

Facebook and YouTube are currently battling for online video supremacy, but at the same time, they are emerging as rivals in the world of virtual reality, too. As YouTube rolls out its own library of 360-degree videos that can be viewed on devices like Google Cardboard, Facebook is support its own Vr projects. One recent premiere on the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is Henry, a short film from former Pixar animator Ramiro Lopez Dau.

Henry has an adorable premise that would not be out of place in a pre-feature Pixar short. It centers on the titular porcupine, who loves to give hugs despite his prickly nature. Dau is using the project to experiment with Vr storytelling techniques. "Can you make a character emote in Vr? How does it feel? Those questions were at the core of Henry," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, still has not released »

- Sam Gutelle

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Netflix May Be Up For Making More ‘Wet Hot American Summer’

23 hours ago

Netflix is open to the idea of making even more Wet Hot American Summer episodes. According to Deadline, Michael Showalter, co-writer and co-star of Netflix’s upcoming original series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, said a second season of the show is definitely possible.

Netflix originally announced it would make a prequel series to the cult 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer in December 2014. Since then, the Svod service has rounded up original cast members, hired some new faces, and produced eight episodes of the new original series from original showrunners Showalter and David Wain, who directed the 2001 feature as well as the Netflix series.

As for producing a second season after this first one debuts, Showalter told reporters at the Television Critics Association, “If everyone wants to do it, we’ll do it.” The actor and writer added, “The time commit for this cast is quite accommodating. »

- Bree Brouwer

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Fund This: ‘Carbon Dating’ Aims To Be “Golden Girls 2.0″

23 hours ago

Project Name: Carbon Dating

Asking For: $20,000 on Indiegogo

Amount Raised Thus Far (At Time Of Post): $17,431

Days Remaining In Campaign (At Time Of Post): 3

Description: The web series industry is not just a young person's game. By pitching her concept on Indiegogo, Amanda Serra is hoping she can bring viewers "Golden Girls 2.0." Serra is the creator of Carbon Dating, a web series about "the misadventures of two Baby-Boomer women awkwardly aging in a youth-oriented society."

Carbon Dating will follow its two leads as they fight the foibles of old age across a series of silly situations. Based on a plot description, there will be online dating and pole dancing involved, but also "brittle bones and public incontinence."

In order to make her web series a reality, Serra has recruited a slew of age-appropriate cast members, who all have plenty of experience in the entertainment industry. Her co-star, Marcie Barkin, »

- Sam Gutelle

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Todrick Hall ‘Won’t Come Off YouTube’ Despite His New MTV Show

29 July 2015 2:39 PM, PDT

Todrick Hall has no plans to leave YouTube anytime soon. The digital star told reporters during the Television Critics Association summer press tour he won’t “come off” YouTube just because he has his upcoming show Todrick for MTV in the works.

According to Deadline, Hall, who appeared on season nine of American Idol back in 2010, told reporters the reason he didn’t make it on that show was because he was too afraid to be himself. Hall assumed the best singer would win, but the show’s executives told him, “It’s not a talent competition, it’s a television show and people have to fall in love with you as a person.”

Hall left the reality series realizing he could “put a lot of the fight in me to come back and re-represent myself… to let audiences see the real me” by making YouTube videos. And viewers certainly »

- Bree Brouwer

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Amazon To Release ‘Sneaky Pete,’ ‘Casanova’ Pilots On August 7

29 July 2015 1:06 PM, PDT

Amazon Studios has set the release dates for two of its original series’ pilots. The debut episodes of Sneaky Pete and Casanova will drop on the Instant Video streaming platform on August 7, 2015.

On that date, both the Sneaky Pete and Casanova pilots will be available to all Amazon Prime Instant Video subscribers in the U.S., UK, and Germany. Soon afterwards, the pilots will be joined by others in Amazon’s recent round of its pilot program. Prime users will then be able to vote on their favorite pilots, which Amazon will greenlight as full series orders.

Sneaky Pete, which Amazon was reportedly courting back in June 2015, comes from executive producers Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (House M.D.). The Amazon original series’ story centers around a released-from-prison conman, played by Giovanni Ribisi, who takes his old cellmate Pete’s identity and gets sucked into his family’s bail bond business. »

- Bree Brouwer

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Fullscreen To Launch Live Tour ‘Girls Night In’ Featuring MyLifeAsEva, Meredith Foster

29 July 2015 11:41 AM, PDT

Fullscreen Live is bringing digital stars in front of thousands of their fans. The touring and events division of the YouTube multi-channel network, owned by At&T and Chernin Group’s Otter Media, will feature YouTube celebrities like MyLifeAsEva (real name Eva Gutowski) and Meredith Foster in an upcoming live tour dubbed “Girls Night In.”

Lifestyle and fashion vloggers Meghan Rienks, Alisha Marie, Mia Stammer, and musician Andie Case will join Gutowski and Rienks on stage during the live event. Fans will experience performances and musical sets during “Girls Night In,” and will also be able to meet the six female YouTubers. The tour will be organized by industry veteran and Fullscreen Live lead Vito Iaia.

“These young women are entertainment powerhouses who each have incredible and unique connections with a passionate fanbase of over 23 million followers,” said Fullscreen President Ezra Cooperstein in a release. “Through tours and live events like this, »

- Bree Brouwer

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Amazon Orders Tig Notaro-Starring Comedy Pilot From Louis C.K., Diablo Cody

29 July 2015 10:17 AM, PDT

Tig Notaro will be the focus of a new series for Amazon Instant Video. The streaming video-on-demand company has ordered a pilot for an unnamed comedy show starring the stand-up comedian and written by Notaro and Oscar-winning Juno scribe Diablo Cody.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, who originally broke the story, the upcoming Amazon pilot will be a semi-autobiographical piece based on Notaro’s life, her struggles with breast cancer, and her comedic career. Amazon released a description of the series: "Tig Notaro has just recovered from an abdominal disease that has left her gaunt, wasted, exhausted, and pretty much stripped of everything except her finely honed sense of the absurd. Abruptly summoned home to Pass Christian, Miss., to take her ailing mother off life support, Tig finds herself dealing with her clingy girlfriend, her dysfunctional Gulf Coast family and the loss of the one person who held everything together. »

- Bree Brouwer

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Verizon Names Upcoming Mobile-Video Service, Adds HBO Content

28 July 2015 4:22 PM, PDT

Verizon Communications is pushing forward with plans for its upcoming mobile-video subscription service. The telco giant has announced its service, now officially dubbed Go90, will offer HBO content to subscribers.

On July 24, 2015, Variety reported Verizon had named its mobile-video service Go90, and accidentally leaked a pre-launch website for the service (which has now been taken down). The site revealed information like how users would be able to watch “live music, exclusive events, best of web content, sports, prime time,… full length shows and short highlights, all for free.”

Some of that content will now include HBO programming, which Verizon is adding to its already-established content partners. Back in March 2015, the telecommunications company announced the addition of AwesomenessTV and DreamWorksTV fare. More recently, Verizon brought on board Vice to contribute original series to Go90 from the media brand’s slate of digital properties, like food-based Munchies and Vice Sports.

On top »

- Bree Brouwer

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YouTube Hires Twitter’s Christian Oestlien, Names Him Director Of Product Management

28 July 2015 4:17 PM, PDT

YouTube has welcomed a new team member to its product division. Google’s online video site has hired Christian Oestlien as the company’s new Director of Product Management.

In his new position at YouTube, Oestlien’s duties will, according to a rep, “focus on building the platform and tools for the next generation of ​video ​creators on YouTube.” Oestlien will report to YouTube’s Vice President of Product Management Matthew Glotzbach, who recently unveiled at VidCon the diamond-tier YouTube Play button award for creators with over ten million subscribers.

Oestlien comes to YouTube from Twitter, where the executive served for a year as the social media site’s Senior Director of Product Management. Oestlien is already a well-known face to the Google family, as previous to Twitter, the new YouTube director worked as Product Management Director for Google’s AdWords. Oestlien also brings product management experience from positions with Yahoo, »

- Bree Brouwer

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Kaja Martin Takes Over As Host Of Ray William Johnson’s ‘=3’

28 July 2015 3:47 PM, PDT

For the second year in a row, =3 has a new host. The clip show, which vaulted creator Ray William Johnson to YouTube stardom, is now led by Kaja Martin, who is known for her frequent collaborations with Johnson.

With more than 10.8 million subscribers, Johnson’s channel is one of the most popular destinations on YouTube, and =3 is the channel’s best-known program. In recent months, Johnson has looked to expand with a full slate of shows produced by his Equals Three Studios, and Martin has taken a leading role in this programming push by serving as executive producer for four new series. She has also appeared in front of the camera in two of those series: Booze Lightyear and Comedians On.

By taking over hosting duties on =3 (which a press release refers to as The Equals Three Show), Martin is taking on her biggest role yet. The clip show, hosted »

- Sam Gutelle

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Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Talks ‘Arrested Development,’ ‘Fuller House,’ Marvel Shows

28 July 2015 2:49 PM, PDT

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos had plenty to say about his company’s original programs at the Television Critics Association press tour. The streaming platform’s Chief Content Officer discussed several of his company’s upcoming projects, including originals like Fuller House and Daredevil, during an interview on July 28, 2015.

For starters, Sarandos made sure to address the rumors surrounding Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen returning to Fuller House, Netflix’s sequel series to the popular 1987-1995 show Full House. Other cast members from the original show have already been on board for a while, including John Stamos, Candice Cameron-Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber, and Dave Coulier. Sarandos said the fashion-mogul Olsen twins are “teetering” on whether or not to join the series as guests.

Similar to the vague information about the Olsen twins, Sarandos didn’t have anything concrete to report in terms of a new season of Arrested Development. Though executive »

- Bree Brouwer

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RocketJump Enlists Markiplier, CaptainSparklez For Newest Short Film

28 July 2015 2:37 PM, PDT

In their most typical videos, YouTube stars Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach and Jordan “CaptainSparklez” Maron share their screens with their viewers as they play through video games like Five Nights At Freddy’s and Minecraft. In a new video, though, Markiplier and CaptainSparklez show off their acting abilities. They are the two guest stars in “Pixel Cops,” the newest short film from the special effects wizards at RocketJump.

At the beginning of “Pixel Cops,” Markiplier’s character takes a bullet for his partner, played by Chase Williamson. After a flash forward, Williamson’s character and his new partner (played by Tamara Bruketta) must investigate a series of murders perpetrated by classic video game characters. CaptainSparklez does not appear in the video himself, but he instead provides the voice of a Tetris L-block who serves as the precinct’s police commissioner.

As the title and 8-bit theme of “Pixel Cops” suggest, the »

- Sam Gutelle

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YouTube Star Jenna Marbles Will Get Her Own Madame Tussauds Wax Figure

28 July 2015 12:22 PM, PDT

Forget book deals and Hollywood films: YouTube stars are getting their own wax figures nowadays, too. And the next digital phenomenon to join the figurine crowd is Jenna Marbles. The 28-year-old YouTube vlogger will get her own likeness made from wax courtesy of Madame Tussauds New York.

Marbles made the announcement of her upcoming statue via her Instagram account. The digital star, who boasts over 15 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, also included a short behind-the-scenes video of her model creation process. Marbles said she is “so beyond honored” her wax figure will be on display at Madame Tussauds, whose Instagram account noted Marbles’ wax likeness will be its first-ever selfie-taking statue.

Marbles isn’t the first YouTube star to obtain wax figure status. Back in April 2015, British vloggers Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) and Alfie Deyes announced they would have their own wax statues made for Madame Tussauds in London. »

- Bree Brouwer

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The Onion Pokes Fun At Vice With New Web Series Called ‘Edge’

28 July 2015 12:04 PM, PDT

Across an expanding digital network, The Onion has parodied everything from SportsCenter to Ted talks to BuzzFeed. Now, as it looks to build up a new destination called Onion Studios, it will dish out Edge, a parody of Vice’s singular, rule-breaking brand of journalism.

In Edge, young correspondents will travel to distant countries in order to uncover thrilling, under-reported stories. However, if the show’s teaser is any indication, the Edge reporters seem more interested in messing around with locals, dishing out profanity, and scoring drugs.

Vice Media is one of the fastest-growing properties on the web. As it has pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars of capital, it has pursued a number of exciting ventures, including its own TV channel. As Vice’s star has grown, it has found itself to be a ripe target for parody, with Twitter accounts and former SNL cast members among those taking aim. »

- Sam Gutelle

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Netflix Renews ‘Bojack Horseman,’ Announces Premiere Dates For Two More Series

28 July 2015 10:49 AM, PDT

Netflix’s steady stream of original entertainment will continue unabated into the fall of 2015. The streaming video platform has announced release dates for the fourth season of Longmire, which will arrive on September 10th, as well as the first season of the Netflix original Master of None, which will premiere on November 6th. In addition, it has revealed some plans beyond Q3 2015 by announcing the renewal of Bojack Horseman, which will come back for a third season.

While both Longmire and Master of None will be distributed on Netflix, they have very different origin stories. Longmire, set in the American West, was a hit on A&E before being cancelled in August 2014 after three seasons. Netflix quickly moved in and revived the series for a 10-episode fourth season. Master of None, on the other hand, is a brand new series from Aziz Ansari, who previous starred in two stand-up specials released exclusively on Netflix. »

- Sam Gutelle

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BroadbandTV, BMG Partner For Cross-Platform Production, Promotion For Emerging Artists

28 July 2015 10:30 AM, PDT

BroadbandTV will bring more music content to the online video masses through a new partnership with a label whose name is well-familiar to any child of the '90s. The multi-channel network has teamed up with music publishing and recordings company BMG to launch Windfall Music, a service-based, digital-first effort to help artists create content and launch their careers.

Under the deal, BroadbandTV and BMG will use Windfall to provide what a release calls “an end-to-end solution to find, develop, and service artists across all platforms.” Musicians working with the brand will gain access to BMG’s expertise with distribution, rights management, and promotion. Artists will also be able to tap into BroadbandTV’s video production, monetization, content management, and audience development.

While this iteration of BMG has been in the music industry since 2008 (and has helped produce over two million songs and recordings since then), BroadbandTV also has plenty »

- Bree Brouwer

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Ivana Kirkbride Leaves YouTube To Join Vessel’s Executive Team

28 July 2015 8:37 AM, PDT

Many of Vessel’s most prominent content creators first made their names on YouTube, and now, it is hiring executives away from the world’s largest video site, too. Ivana Kirkbride, who was previously a member of YouTube’s original programming team, has departed the company to join Vessel in newly-created role.

Recode, which reported the news of Kirkbride’s move, explains that she will head up a new office in Los Angeles (Vessel’s headquarters are located in San Francisco.) In her new role, she will work with Vessel’s burgeoning creative community, which includes many people who are also big stars on YouTube. The long list of creators who are posting videos to Vessel includes Rhett & Link, Ingrid Nilsen, and Connor Franta.

At YouTube, Kirkbride was a key member of YouTube’s original programming team. When the video site’s content division shuffled its staff in October 2014, she »

- Sam Gutelle

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Madame Tussauds Debuts Smosh Wax Figures At VidCon

27 July 2015 4:17 PM, PDT

VidCon brought hundreds of real-life online video stars to Anaheim, but at the same time, an adjacent event featured the first two YouTube stars made entire of wax. At both Defy Media’s VidCon suite and the nearby “Viewseum” in Anaheim, Madame Tussauds debuted wax figures of Smosh duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla.

The wax figures, which Madame Tussauds first announced in May 2015, are the first ones to ever feature YouTube stars. “What an honor it is to be recognized and chosen for Madame Tussauds first YouTube wax figures in their 250 year history,” said the Smosh guys in a press release. “To have the big reveal take place on the red carpet at the premiere of our first movie just made this eventful day even more memorable. We’re excited to bring them along to VidCon and can’t think of a more fitting venue to show off our wax selves! »

- Sam Gutelle

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