Inside the business of children's digital media

Maker’s head of sales on plans for Star Wars, other Disney IP


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Last month, Maker Studios rebuffed an 11th hour bid from Relativity Media, even though it placed a higher valuation on the company than Disney’s up-to-US$950 million acquisition offer (which has been approved). Considering some of the advertising deals and content plans revealed at Maker’s NewFronts presentation Tuesday, it’s easy to see why Maker chose to go with the House of Mouse.

“With the Disney acquisition we now have access to all of the IP in the Disney family across the board,” said Jason Krebs, head of global sales at Maker Studios. “We’re going to be working with all of these brands and content owners to bring them out to the community. The ad community, as well as the creative community,” he said at the Maker NewFronts presentation.

One of those properties is Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise, which is releasing Episode 7 in December 2015. Maker’s announcement of a partnership with Lucasfilm got one of the biggest cheers of the evening as they showed on screen videos mashing up Star Wars characters alongside Maker creative talent.

Star Wars is going to be a big deal, right?” Krebs said. “We’re going to do our best to figure out an annual programming calendar across multiple different content genres, talking about Star Wars in the run up to the movie release. We’re going to be talking to advertisers about all of the new programming out there for the run up to the new premier.”

Krebs explained that Maker will be creating new shows and new content in conjunction with Lucasfilm, Star Wars and the advertising community, while “staying true” to the Maker brand and voice.

“We’re going to bring in our talent, where appropriate,” he said.

Proving it’s serious about working with ad partners, the MCN has already signed a deal with Omnicom Media Group, the parent company of global media agencies OMD and PHD.

“The word partner is thrown around a lot but we’re really going to be ensuring that we’re working hand in glove with (OMG’s) clients to do all the things you saw tonight,” said Krebs, referring to new a slate of shows and branded content programming commitments with the likes of Morgan Spurlock, James Franco and will.i.am.

But is Maker the cat that caught the mouse, or the other way around? Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger seems to think it’s the latter.

After Walt Disney reported higher than expected quarterly profits on Tuesday, Iger commented on the Maker acquisition and what he hoped the digital media company will add to the Disney portfolio.

“We are excited about entering the short form video space in a much more asserted manner to boost the presence of our brands and franchises in this increasingly valuable and fast growing arena,” said Iger, during an earnings call. “Maker’s production talent and leadership will create exciting new opportunities to drive value from our content and create new content as well.”

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