Fred Siebert, former president of MTV Networks Online and Nickelodeon Online, has logged on to entrepreneurship once again with the launch of his new consulting business Frederator.
Siebert also has an animation prodco by the same name, derived mainly from the fact that he likes gigantor robots. ‘I always wanted to be one,’ he says. The decision to start Frederator was partly prompted by the gap Siebert and partner Emil Rensing (formerly VP of special projects at MTV Networks) saw to create an opportunity where the business, packaging and product development of the convergence area of old and new media exists. ‘We think that there is a great opportunity to build businesses and networks that make people’s lives happier, more convenient and more exciting,’ says Siebert.
Siebert and Rensing say the business is likely to focus on the demo Siebert has worked in for most of his career-kids, teens and young adults. Rensing, a former director of product development at AOL Studios, observed during his time there that the usage of any interesting Internet application was coming mainly from that same demo. ‘Given that we are the kind of people that always want to be excited by what we do, being involved with that age group in fact guarantees that we will always be excited by the work that we do,’ says Siebert.
Siebert and Rensing will not look to work with clients per se, but rather partners. The question of whether or not a partner is the right one to be with Frederator-and vice versa-depends on the assets involved, business and human. ‘If there are media people who want to build businesses in any media and need to figure out a way to create the best products possible to make the most vigorous long-term networks possible-those are the people we’re interested in doing business with,’ says Siebert.
Primedia was chosen as Frederator’s first strategic partner because of the company’s wealth of assets concerning younger demographics. ‘They are one of the most interesting companies that is moving through the media lately,’ says Siebert. ‘They’ve acquired everything from 300 to 400 magazines to teen news broadcaster Channel One to About.com.’ Frederator will oversee Primedia’s Teen Internet Initiative, aggregating all of Primedia’s teen brands in one place on the Net.
Siebert and Frederator will continue to perform network consulting for MTV Network’s TNN, and Nickelodeon in the television area.