While TV advertising has taken a hit from DVRs, online competition and economic troubles, some local ad agencies are mining the television game show genre.
Los Angeles-based DG Entertainment has campaigns for first-run syndication franchises, including historic programs like CBS Television Distribution's "Jeopardy!" and Sony Television Entertainment's "Wheel of Fortune," as well as 20th Television's stalwart court show "Divorce Court." It has produced ad campaigns that can be used on television, online and mobile media platforms.
"You have to be a lot more creative these days and make sure that what you do create can be used across multiple platforms," said John Murphy, DG's creative director.
One of DG's latest campaigns, known as My Proudest Moments, is designed to run prior to and during the 25th anniversary of game show "Jeopardy!" later this year.
In the campaign, historical figures such as Betsy Ross, Attila the Hun and Cleopatra talk about when they realized they had become cultural icons the date their names had been used in questions on "Jeopardy!."
Another series of spots is based on the letters featured on "Wheel of Fortune." In this campaign, the letter "J," portrayed as an awkward teen, meets co-host Vanna White outside her dressing room and lights up at the least amount of attention.
Murphy declined to say how much the ad campaigns cost to produce, but industry sources estimate the figure at less than $1 million per episode.
While Hollywood's film business has been slowed by strikes and endless labor disputes, L.A.'s other film business appears to be booming.
Van Nuys-based Digital Playground Inc. has just released "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge," which the company boasts is the most expensive adult film ever made at a cost of more than $13 million.
"We put a lot of time and money behind these titles," said Samantha Lewis, Digital Playground's co-founder and the film's executive producer. "Most people think of porn as sleazy stuff, but the fact is that more and more people are watching it and we want to make the best titles in the market."
Unlike most other businesswomen in the adult industry, Lewis has always been behind the camera. She said that the extensive computer-generated imagery makes her "Pirates" film budgets atypically high. The first "Pirates," sporting a $10 million production budget, generated more than $30 million in revenues from DVD sales, according to industry sources.
A typical adult feature film is produced for about $5,000 to $30,000 and generates anywhere from $3,000 to $60,000 in profit, depending on distribution alliances that are controlled by a loose consortium of retailers.
The adult film industry hasn't been affected by the credit crunch because producers fund their own productions and advertising, said Gram Ponante, publisher and editor of online industry Web site Porn Valley Observed.
So recession proof is the adult film industry, that Lewis is expected to be featured in the December issue of Forbes magazine.
Even in the best of economic times, college students trying to land an internship in the fields of media or entertainment can be a daunting task.
That spelled opportunity for Lauren Berger.
The 23-year-old, who had 15 internships during her four years at the University of Florida, created Intern Queen Inc., an online venture designed to help employers find qualified interns and college students the internship of their dreams.
After leaving school and coming to Los Angeles, Berger landed a job working for famed film director Marshall Herskovitz, who eventually purchased her Web site for an undisclosed sum.
So far the site, InternQueen.com, which is designed to be ad-supported, hasn't made a profit. But Berger said she has high hopes.
"It hasn't received much publicity but now that I've recently got some big Hollywood players aboard, it should start getting more traffic," Berger said.
She was recently featured on KTLA-TV Channel 5's morning news show, and has been in several newspaper and magazine articles.
Berger said that she recently landed companies Fox, Sony, MTV and BWR Public Relations as employer participants.
Staff reporter Brett Sporich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.
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