Cube Fabulous was a trailblazer. In 2006, when most people were fooling around with dogs and skateboards, Jordan Berman of Shorn Entertainment and Broadband Enterprises (comprised of individuals formerly at Warner Bros. Studio 2.0) were figuring out what commercial television would look like on the web.
Cube Fabulous – a “fantastic parody of the endless parade of contemporary makeover shows, touching on everything from bad decorating tips to the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy trope of hosts discussing their makeover victim’s foibles while driving in an SUV with a camera lodged on the dashboard” – may have been ahead of it’s time, but in hindsight, its creators saw the horizon with impressive clarity: a simple concept with a narrowly defined, advertiser-friendly demographic, sponsored by a single brand.
This was MTV content fitted for the web with built-in sponsorship, and it came about a year before anyone else had done anything close.
Dorm Storm, Brodband Enterprises next iteration makeover show, seems to be a continuation of the Cube Fabulous experiment with one interesting exception: though Berman had been developing a similarly-themed Dorm makeover show – Dorm Fabulous – Shorn Entertainment isn’t involved in Dorm Storm.
“Shorn Entertainment is the creator, producer and owner of Cube Fabulous. Shorn has no involvement with Broadband Enterprises’ Dorm Storm show,” J. Scott Berman, Founder & CEO of Shorn Entertainment and creator/executive producer of Cube Fabulous, said via email.
Since Cube Fabulous, we’ve not thought much about Broadband Enterprises – a company concerned primarily with video ad-serving technology. Recent announcements, however, and an impressive production slate have piqued our interest once again.
Dorm Storm is a shinier, though notably shorter Cube Fabulous without the tongue-in-cheek makeover schtick intended for a narrower audience. And it’s got HP products. And a better looking host.
Broadband Enterprises has promised HP – Dorm Storm‘s sponsor – a whopping “20 million views” through its self-touted distribution network, AdWeek reports. Despite that, we, who expertly consume way too much internet-TV, have yet to find an easily-accessed Dorm Storm website or its videos on any major video sharing site (the embed I did find was from a Google search that led me to i-am-bored.com).
Danny Fishman, BE’s President, says the “if we build it, they will come” mindset fails more often than not. “There are so many vendors selling original programming…One of those key components is guaranteed distribution, because otherwise it sits on the shelf.”
Sounds nice, but isn’t there something to be said for featured space on a MySpace and superdistribution is as easy as signing up for TubeMogul? Why not guarantee those views AND release it everywhere at the same time?
Well, BE bypasses most of the internet’s YouTubes and distributes its original videos as if they were banner ads to over 2,300 sites that gaurantee views for a cut of the revenue. After talking on the phone with Darryl LaRue (EVP of Marketing and Operations) and Seve Yanovsky (VP of Marketing), I learned why.
By distributing its original programming this way, Broadband Enterprises can use sophisticated data colleciton services to accurately measure its videos’ metrics. So, the company can answer questions from advertisers like, “How many people watch past the first 10 seconds? How many people click to go to my site after watching for a minute? Etc. Etc.” This is the type of data Fortune 100 companies love and something that YouTube just can’t deliver.
In addition to Dorm Storm, in the next few months BE will roll out a handful of new series including Real Moms, On the Brink, a highschool oriented sports show, and fashion freindly In Seam, each with at least one sponsor already on board and paying for the prodution.
As for Shorn Entertainment and Dorm Fabulous, Berman is working on something else, with someone else, that he claims “will be as innovative as Cube Fabulous was.” Dorm Fabulous seems to have been tabled indefinitely.