Last week, Amazon partnered up with CBS to offer exclusive online streaming for CBS’ big summer series “Under The Dome.” It was a deal that lightens the financial load on the network for the show – essentially, co-production by another name. Now another television network has announced a deal with an online content distributor… except, this time, the relationship is going to go in the other direction.
Fox announced Tuesday that it has signed a multi-year deal with WIGS, a YouTube channel that specializes in the creation of content designed to appeal to female viewers. Details about the financial aspect of the deal were not revealed, but during the length of the partnership Fox is expected to invest in programming and marketing for the YouTube channel while also taking over both distribution and ad sales-related decisions.
Fox’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said the network’s overall goal with the partnership “is to create an ecosystem where creative people and ideas can find expression independently in the online environment but benefit from the resources that the larger platform of the network affords.” It’s suggested that Fox may be considering this partnership as an opportunity not only to develop new programming aimed at women, but also find a way to do it less expensively and more long-term. At a public appearance in 2011, Reilly had complained about pilot season, calling it “stupid, highly inefficient, wasteful and not good for anyone”; unless his feelings for the practice have somehow improved in the intervening months, it’s not unlikely that he’d be interested in exploring alternatives.
“It takes unique creators and operators like Jon [Avnet] and Rodrigo [Garcia, the two creators of WIGS] and Jake Avnet, who not only understand the unfettered and entrepreneurial digital system but also have a firm grasp on the mainstream – and can capitalize on both,” Reilly says. “They’ve spent a year building a novel production process and a vibrant alternative pipeline, and we’re excited to help them take those tremendous stories and talent and develop them into long-term digital or on-air assets.”
WIGS launched last year, as part of YouTube’s much-publicized push behind original and professional content channels on the site. With new series from the likes of Neil LaBute and Julia Styles, the channel was receiving millions of views per week and luring more than 100,000 people to sign up as subscribers. It’s unknown at this time whether Fox plans to rebroadcast or adapt any of the content that has already appeared on YouTube so sorry, no “New Girl” spin-offs here. At least not yet anyway.