Break Media is one of online video’s growing powerhouses, now reaching over 140 million people a month through its network of sites firmly footed in the psyche of young male webizens. It may be easy to quickly cast Break in the corner of fail videos and puppy freakouts, still core canon over at its flagship Break.com.
But the business of Break Media is growing up, recognizing the incresing demand for premium content from the advertsising world still squeamish to commit TV-level dollars into online video projects. Slowly, Break is shifting to adapt and cozing up to the Hollywood production establishment that knows a thing or two about producing premium. And the company itself has bloomed to a headcount now over 200 employees, most based in Los Angeles where several video-heavy content startups (or once-startups) like Hulu, Maker Studios, Machinima and Mahalo call home.
The first move was to hire former Endeavour agent Greg Siegel earlier this year, as Break’s new SVP of Entertainment Development, bringing with him a deep roster of relationships with talent and production partners. The move mirrors YouTube’s hiring of Robert Kyncl out of Netflix to head up that company’s major Hollywood-driven premium content push.
Now this week comes word that Break has signed a content development deal with Reveille Productions to create original digital series for the network. Reveille, most know for its hit TV properties like The Office, Ugly Betty and The Biggest Loser, has its fair share of web series projects under its belt, like Subway’s Fit to Boom for MSN and daily show Who Knew? for Yahoo.
“Break has always been the premiere dest for men 18-34 online,” Siegel told us, “but we’re looking to extend that into content that historically we haven’t been servicing. We’re looking to be in business with content providers who can bring premium content to our demo and be great collaborators as well.”
Reveille typically would wait for the holy trinity of brand and distribution before fully greenlighting a series, but it appears this distribution deal may allow for more shows to head into production before a brand is locked in. “It’s not creating straight branded entertainment per se—we’re looking for them to provide a level of content that brands will want to attach themselves.” added Siegel.
Siegel pointed out that this isn’t a full pivot from Break’s longtime model of in-house production, like series and videos out of the Break Creative Lab. “We’re not shifting models from internal development to external development,” he said. “When you look at the TV studio model, FOX gets some from 20th [Century Fox], some from outside partners. Good content comes from multiple places, and we’re looking to be in business with people who make great content wherever they are.”
Another recent Hollywood move was Break’s teaming up with Chuck star Zachary Levi earlier this cummer for a series of videos and a big Berd HQ presence at Comic-Con in San Diego.