Fullscreen is going silver screen.
The Culver City multichannel network and digital media company said Friday it would launch a division to develop and produce original feature-length movies using its online talent base.
“This is what audiences have told us they want, and Fullscreen is prepared to deliver,” Chief Executive George Strompolos said in a statement.
Fullscreen Films already has three productions in its queue: “The Outfield,” a coming-of-age baseball story set in high school; “Lazer Team,” a sci-fi comedy about an unlikely group of heroes fighting an alien invasion; and “#O2LForever,” a documentary on former members of vlogging group Our 2nd Life.
Release dates have not been announced. No word yet on how many films will be released each year.
Fullscreen will finance the films, though it’s open to bringing on co-producers depending on the project. The network will continue pursuing brand integration and sponsorships for these movies just as it does for its shorter content.
Fullscreen’s videos have long been free to view, funded in part by ads on YouTube, its main distributor. The network is hoping its longer projects could land distribution deals with more video platforms such as Vimeo, Netflix or iTunes. That would most likely require viewers to pay to watch the films, which would open new revenue streams for Fullscreen and its creators. To compare, YouTubers last month paid $5.99 to rent Sony Pictures’ “The Interview” and $14.99 to own a digital copy.
Strompolos said last month that the acquisition of Fullscreen by Otter Media, the Chernin Group and AT&T joint venture, would allow the company to explore new forms of content and distribution, including possibly creating high-quality paid programming. The formation of Fullscreen Films appears to be answering that call.
The move might seem counterintuitive since most in the entertainment industry have focused on condensing content into bite-sized videos. Younger viewers have been shying from the box office as of late, preferring to watch short videos through mobile device or online.
But there are definitely opportunities for Fullscreen to showcase its films in movie theaters, according to someone familiar with the situation. And if Fullscreen can score deals with cinema chains nationwide, then perhaps young viewers will find their way back into movie theater seats.
Fullscreen, one of the largest networks on YouTube, currently has 500 million subscribers that generate more than 5 billion views every month.