Advertising dollars spent on web video are expected to grow to $775 million this year.  Hollywood’s United Talent Agency and Spot Runner, an internet-based television advertising company, want a cut.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both announced that the new duo has raised $3.5 million for 60Frames – an independent “ministudio for digital entertainment from established actors, directors, and others” to create videos that will be distributed across multiple websites and wireless devices.

Headed by Brent Weinstein, who previously ran UTA’s online division, the company was “born of a growing frustration among artists and their representatives at the complexities of doing any online business without an established model for financing and organizing projects.”

The move isn’t that surprising. Since UTA established their online team eight months ago, the agency’s been one of the most active players in web video space, aggressively pursuing and signing top online talent including ZeFrank (Tilzy.TV page), Invisible Engine (Tilzy.TV page), Dutch West (Tilzy.TV page), Ragtag Productions (Tilzy.TV page), Tim Street (Tilzy.TV page) and Smashface Productions (Tilzy.TV page)…among others.

An internet studio with “established” names is certain to precipitate major reactions in Hollywood as the new venture begins to “figure out” ways to effectively produce online video.  This will no doubt ignite new advertising opportunities across the board.

Joel and Ethan Coen – yeah, those Coens – are among the first filmmakers slated to produce programming for the new venture.  Comedy is the fasting growing and most mature genre on the web, and the Coen brothers are certain to bring some added sophistication and clout to the medium.  “The Landlord” certainly has a place, but some signature highbrow quips from the world-class filmmakers will definitely punch things up. 

More from from Michael Cieply of the New York Times here.


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