March 12, 2007 8:20 AM PDT

Ex-Disney chief launches Web video company

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner has announced his next endeavor: Vuguru, a new independent studio for the production and distribution of online video content.

Vuguru, officially a project of Eisner's investment firm Tornante, debuted Monday along with its first production and set of sponsors. According to a statement from the new company, Vuguru aims to focus on "high-quality, story-driven content for the Internet" on a par with professional television and cinema productions.

The inaugural Vuguru series, a mystery drama called Prom Queen, will release the first of its 80 episodes on April 2. The 90-second clips, aimed at a tech-savvy teen audience, have been produced in conjunction with Web video company Big Fantastic--best known as the team behind the video podcast Sam Has 7 Friends. Among Prom Queen's sponsors is the magazine-turned-webzine Elle Girl, which stopped print publication last year to focus on online and mobile distribution.

Vuguru productions like Prom Queen will not be limited to a single platform. In addition to the production's Web site, the series will be accessible through sponsor Elle Girl's Web site and will be hosted by the Web video platform Veoh Networks--Eisner sits on Veoh's board of directors, and Tornante holds an ownership stake in the San Diego, Calif.-based start-up. Despite this close connection to Veoh, Vuguru has said that Prom Queen will also be available on Web video powerhouse YouTube.

There are also plans to distribute the series on handheld devices and in an unspecified living room-friendly format.

See more CNET content tagged:
Michael Eisner, Veoh Networks, production, video

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First to market....?
A year and a half ago - my team launched into a production of our own rivaling tv/movie quality for a series and launched it last week using Brightcove's engine. We are featured on the front page of the popular show RedvsBlue and are spreading very quickly. In this world - even the little guy has a shot - if he can draw quick enough :)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.drawnbypain.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.drawnbypain.com</a>
Posted by Jeskid (6 comments )
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Tripping The Rift?
I'm thinking they got to market much, much sooner, no? Sure, the TV version (SciFi channel) got bastardized, cleaned-up (a little) and eventually died a quick death (like most shows on that channel do, unfortunately)... but it was an Internet icon (and deliciously raunchier) long, long, long before it hit the television.

Maybe I'm reading it all wrong in that the distribution channel method is the focus (Internet only, straight-to iPod/TV/etc), but I know that this isn't the first time the Internet was even used as a distribution medium...

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
First to market....?
A year and a half ago - my team launched into a production of our own rivaling tv/movie quality for a series and launched it last week using Brightcove's engine. We are featured on the front page of the popular show RedvsBlue and are spreading very quickly. In this world - even the little guy has a shot - if he can draw quick enough :)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.drawnbypain.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.drawnbypain.com</a>
Posted by Jeskid (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tripping The Rift?
I'm thinking they got to market much, much sooner, no? Sure, the TV version (SciFi channel) got bastardized, cleaned-up (a little) and eventually died a quick death (like most shows on that channel do, unfortunately)... but it was an Internet icon (and deliciously raunchier) long, long, long before it hit the television.

Maybe I'm reading it all wrong in that the distribution channel method is the focus (Internet only, straight-to iPod/TV/etc), but I know that this isn't the first time the Internet was even used as a distribution medium...

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting piece Caroline vis a vis "even the little guy has a shot - if he can draw quick enough :)" I agree on this wholeheartedly with web video now available to the SOHO business web video is changing the landscape of small business for sure with the web video company being a new breed of niche business for this market we can all look forward to a more refreshing and less restrained approach to video production long reigned by the corporate video company..
Jef
CEO
http://www.thewebvideocompany.com
Posted by thewebvideocompany (1 comment )
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