​Multichannel YouTube network Maker Studios, now in the hands of Bob Iger at Disney, took advantage of its NewFront presentation this week to debut Maker.tv, a premium site for additional content not found for free on YouTube.

Maker.tv is in many ways its answer to the general question: “How will they monetize the mass amounts of short-form video they’re producing?” The platform is planning to work with Disney properties such as ABC, Lucasfilm, Marvel and ESPN for premium content ontop of more Web series on new and existing YouTube channels. Maker also announced deals with big names as well as YouTube stars for upcoming projects like the returning “Epic Rap Battles of History” from Comedy Central’s Key and Peele and branded content from Morgan Spurlock.

“Our mission is to empower creators and inspire expression,” said Ynon Kreiz, Maker Studios’ executive chairman.

Its new program Labs@Maker was created to add to its growing video content options, inviting brands to work with Maker’s creative teams to help create future content. So far it has signed up a list of partners that includes James Franco, “The Walking Dead’s” Robert Kirkman, X Games skateboarder Nyjah Huston and will.i.am. Labs@Maker is also supposed to offer better data for its partners and more immediate feedback from its audience to help gauge future programming decisions.

Disney CEO Iger commented in a recent investor call on its recent $950 million acquisition of Maker Studios, saying: “We’re excited about entering the short-form video space in a much more assertive manner. Maker’s production talent and leadership will create exciting new opportunities to derive value from our content and create new content as well.”

“Wall Street Journal” also took to the NewFronts in the footsteps of fellow print publishers to unveil its new digital product, Signal. The video hub is part-curator of its magazine brands’ video and part-video/magazine, meaning it will take on the editorial look of a magazine, with shorts at the front leading into longer feature video content, mirroring flipping through a print magazine. Signal is largely aimed at tablet users and highlights video series such as “Future is Everything” and “The Short Answer.”

Read more at Broadcasting & Cable and Ad Age.

Brief Take: Magazine hubs have yet to take hold at the NewFronts this year, but Maker’s plan to turn some of its short-form video into real money should keep other YouTube producers on their toes this year.

[Image courtesy of Key and Peele]


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