Don’t call Machinima a multichannel network.
Instead, call it a digital programming service, one with plans to emulate how TV and cable networks have long developed their programming schedules, said Chief Executive Chad Gutstein.
The West Hollywood company behind popular gaming and fanboy YouTube videos rolled out a long list of updates last Monday that included a fresh logo and tagline, a revamped website, new tools for video creators and a mission to refocus on producing original videos through its network of content creators.
But underlying those announcements is a new programming strategy that executives hope will give the company more control and a tighter focus on the content it distributes – and more money from advertisers and brands.
Gutstein said Machinima plans to align all of its programming – videos produced both in house and by its stable of 31,000 content creators – against a common calendar built around tent pole events such as major game releases or conferences.
“There are 70 years of best practices (in TV) on how to program a programming service in a way that viewers want and that advertisers comfortably feel would make money,” he said.
It’s a shift that could have a big impact on the struggling company, which until now hasn’t tried to coordinate its content.
Machinima, which now has 115 employees, went through rounds of layoffs over the past two years, including cutting 30 percent of its workforce in March. That same month, the company received a needed $18 million cash infusion in a financing round led by Warner Bros., a deal that gave the Burbank studio access to Machinima’s biggest draw: 400 million highly engaged subscribers, mostly men between the ages of 18 and 49.
Machinima’s new strategy puts the emphasis on creating content that isn’t just higher quality, but that would better capitalize and monetize its 3 billion monthly views.
That’s crucial for Machinima, which needs to start making money, said Paul Verne, senior analyst at market research firm eMarketer.
“If Machinima is trying to take a content-centric approach, I would applaud that,” Verne said. “But I also think they are probably under serious revenue pressure to start doing something to generate more immediate results.”
And those fast results could mean a straight shot to TV. As Machinima starts to look more like a TV network, its content could start finding its way onto television screens.
“Do I suspect that we will have some content that will land on television?” Gutstein asked. “Absolutely.”
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