Babelgum has been stepping further into the web television waters lately, adding two notable comedy web series to its catalog in a distribution deal for A.D. Miles’ comedy Horrible People and Fun Little Movies’ dating comedy Turbo Dates. This comes fresh off the heels of the site’s recent signing of Hayden Black’s Goodnight Burbank for a fresh 20-episode run.
The deals acquire what are essentially syndication rights for the two series, albeit non-exclusively. In effect, it’s the equivalent of adding European syndication, as the UK-based site boasts strong traffic from Euro-zone countries. They are however expanding their US offerings and grabbing some of the better web comedies won’t hurt.
Both series aren’t exactly brand new, though there’s still plenty of viewers who yet haven’t heard of either. Horrible People stands out as one of My Damn Channel’s best comedies yet and creator A.D. Miles has been picking up heat lately with his popular grindhouse-styled Hot Sluts series on Atom and as head writer for Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night show.
Turbo Dates teased its initial release back last fall from creators Jocelyn Stamat and Terry Rossio, and now finally is looking at its full-season release. It’s the first series in what is being called Bablegum’s “Funny4Females” section, which plans to feature “smart and quality programming that appeals to women and features funny, female comedy.”
The series are only viewable on the Babelgum site, which despite our general distaste for prohibiting embedding of the videos, they did after all pay for them. I still stand behind the need for at least one episode for publicity, blogs and social media. For now, there is a workaround which involves the Babelgum widget kit (which we used above) that doesn’t really do the real video player justice.
Both series are also available on mobile smart phones through Babelgum’s new mobile app which lets viewers in the US, UK and Italy watch regionally-programmed content on their iPhones or similar 3G or Wifi devices.
We caught up with Frank Chindamo CEO of Fun Little Movies, and also the publisher of Babelgum’s Comedy Channel, to find out more about these deals and whether or not the shows were paid a licensing fee.
“In the case of Turbo Dates, yes, there was an up-front payment, ” Chindamo told us. “Babelgum may acquire rights from content owners with an advance payment based on an exclusive term which is recoupable from first revenues. Once recouped, the parties move to a revenue share model. In my opinion, Babelgum’s mobile and online acquisition strategy is in this period a key differentiator relative to competitors who are mainly focused on pure revenue-sharing deals,” he added.
The specific amounts of the deals weren’t shared, but if we had to guess they are likely to be under six-figures.
Either way, Babelgum and Fun Little Movies sound like they are going to be teamed up for a while. Turbo Dates has already shot a second season, Chindamo tells us, with guest stars including Elisa Donovan of Clueless, Len Lesser of Seinfeld, Todd Grinnell of Desperate Housewives amongst others. Babelgum is said to be “very interested in licensing those new episodes.” FLM also has a 22-episode series called Mr. Wrong that it is planning on releasing via Bablegum as well.