For Your Imagination Spring 2009 Web Video UpfrontNew York-based web studio For Your Imagination is hosting its Spring 2009 Web Video Upfront tonight as it looks to lock up sponsorships and show off its latest slate of original web series. A number of new series have been announced as well as their current hits like do-it-yourself fave, DadLabs, eco-conscious The Green House and the recently-launched comedy web series portal Axis of Comedy which currently boasts Goodie Bag TV, Break A Leg, The Burg, Kyle Piccolo, Abigail’s Teen Diary, The Patrice O’Neal Show, Goodnight Burbank and The Retributioners.

New this year will be a move towards content verticals for its web series slate, much like what fellow NY-based web studio NextNewNetworks has been building out. With comedy, green and parenting verticals already in place, FYI is rolling out two new ones — GEQ, a personal finance network, and Glampede, for style and fashion content.

Axis of Comedy - upfront 09We caught up with FYI CEO Paul Kontonis about the event which is slated to bring out a healthy set of New York ad execs and brand managers along with digital media folks and of course the show creators themselves. The night’s theme is “Who’s Watching?” and will take a close look at all those spiffy new metrics they’ve been tracking, showing off not only who makes up the shows’ audiences but also their specific viewing habits and methods.

Tubefilter: Are you actively looking for new series? Where do you look for them?
Paul Kontonis: We are always looking for new series for our verticals – comedy, parenting, green, personal finance and fashion – and that are advertiser friendly. We find our shows by working with various production companies and from hosting the Big Screen Little Screen meet up in NYC.

Tubefilter: What’s your take on the online video ad market for the short term?
Kontonis: From now until the end of this year, there is a general indecisiveness and insecurity in the ad marketplace. I think next year will be a great time for content providers that can show a brand how to reach their consumers through their online video. If you have content that is mass entertainment, expect a rough ride in 2009.

Tubefilter: Is it harder to find sponsors for content than last year?
Kontonis: I believe it is harder primarily because of the overall effectiveness of branded entertainment. We can develop, produce, market and distribute an original series for a brand and ensure that their messages are viewed by millions of people. It is a very powerful tool.
Tubefilter: Any other comments on the Upfront?
Kontonis: We are very excited to show that we are moving ahead and continuing to grow in this environment. when you present clear cut advertising solutions that  are tied to audiences not just cool content, it is a value proposition that can not be overlooked.

New web series from For Your ImaginationThe venture-backed studio, which recently landed its latest round of funding, announced year over year (YoY) revenue growth of 34% in sponsored and branded entertainment. Their total potential reach is now reported to be around 60 million views a month through its myriad of distribution partners — Blip, Hulu, Joost, DailyMotion, Howcast and Tremor Media amongst others.

Some of the new web series coming in 2009: Lurker (from Break A Leg creators Yuri and Vlad Baronovsky), A Day With the Hiltons, rightpedal and Spanish por la Mañana.

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