There was a very special feeling in the air at the 2014 Maker Studios NewFront presentation. The recently acquired multi-channel network was able to stay true to their roots while embracing and celebrating their future as part of the Walt Disney brand.
As their new programming was unveiled throughout the evening, Maker creators scattered throughout the crowd were asked to stand up and receive applause for their work. Chief Content Officer, Erin McPherson, made it very clear that Maker will continue to support the digital landscape with the mantra that “we are all makers.” But they also showed how they plan to evolve on that message during a hilarious skit between the notorious Muppet Ms. Piggy and outlandish YouTube sensation P’trique. It was a poignant moment that showed we don’t have to ignore the past as we move into a bright ‘new’ future in the world of content.
For brands and marketers there was a lot of new information to take away from the event. Maker Studios announced the creation of a new distribution platform, Maker.TV, which will house exclusive content from their creators. It’ll be interesting to see if and how this impacts their current relationship with the YouTube platform. Maker.TV should also help the company establish an identity in the marketing and advertising community as YouTube’s endless library of content often makes it difficult for planners to wrap their heads around.
In addition, the announcement of the “Maker Offers” platform showed Maker’s grand vision to allow brand content to achieve scale. The UI appears quite simple and it’ll allow advertisers to RFP and interact with thousands of creators with the click of a button. Throughout the evening Maker pressed the idea that brands are invited to, and should be eager to, get into the content creation process.
Finally, much was said about a shift towards premium content creation through Labs@Maker. In 2014 they promise to deliver original programming with renowned artists and creators including Will.I.Am, Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead), and Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me). On top of that, they teased the audience with the idea of new programming in the works that will build upon enormously successful Disney-owned and operated films such as Star Wars.
The Maker NewFront was unique in that it left a feeling not just of “wow, I can’t wait to see what happens next” but also a feeling that “wow, I should start talking to them right away.” So many projects are in the pipeline for Maker, and with the added power of the Walt Disney Company I’m confident that they’ll deliver on their promises, and even surprise us with ideas that we never imagined. I suppose it’s appropriate to say that the Walt Disney magic will definitely continue.
Written by Oliver Schenkel, Associate Director, Media/Content, DigitasLBi