YouTube stars KickThePj (a.k.a. PJ Liguori) and Sawyer Hartman will each launch an online-video series exclusively on Vimeo On Demand through a deal announced this morning with New Form Digital Studios. Two more series will be developed later this year as part of the New Form-Vimeo deal.
Liguori and Hartman won series-development deals as a result of short films they created in late 2014 as part of an incubator project run by New Form, the new multi-channel network backed by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Discovery Communications.
The deals represent another step in the broadening of the online-video business, still dominated by YouTube and its freely available videos in their bewildering multiplicity, but increasingly featuring other big companies and new ways of making money. The decade-old Vimeo has long been an upscale competitor of YouTube, specializing in higher-quality content and offering ways to sell or rent videos through its On Demand offering.
Both Liguori and Hartman are well established on YouTube, with a collective subscriber base there of more than 3 million people. One big question will be whether their YouTube audiences will follow them to a new platform and pay to see their ambitious new projects.
Liguori’s Oscar’s Hotel tells the tale of a young man who takes over his uncle’s magical boarding house. The new proprietor must manage the high-maintenance mayhem of the mythical creatures who reside in the hotel, while tracking down his uncle, who has mysteriously disappeared. Here’s the amusing and rather manic trailer for Oscar’s Hotel:
Hartman’s Parallax is set 17 years after repeated meteor strikes killed millions of people. A young scientist works to both protect his family and warn others of what he believes will be another string of deadly strikes. Here’s the trailer for Parallax. It has a bit of the melancholy sense of loss that informed the Matthew McConaughey trailers for Interstellar:
Vimeo, which is owned by Barry Diller‘s IAC, will debut the two 10-episode series later this year, where they will be available for purchase along with bonus content at still-to-be-determined prices. Two other New Form series will also be developed and debut on Vimeo On Demand later in the year.
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