The move means A-B has started to put meat on the bones of its Bud.tv project, a 24-hour, internet-based TV network expected to launch after this year's Super Bowl. The advertiser is one of a number of marketers financing its own entertainment content and distributing it directly to consumers. In order to fund the project, A-B is diverting money from its existing TV ad budget.
There will be seven channels on Bud.tv devoted to satirical newscasts, stand-up comedy, filmmaking contests and other entertainment bits. The channels also will feature sitcom-style shows, A-B ads created by consumers and links to the marketer's treasure trove of sports sponsorships.
The deal with Studio 2.0, the most aggressive Hollywood-studio foray into advertiser-integrated content, will spawn an internet show called "Hardly News." The show will be a hybrid of comedy, news and games intended to pull in consumers who want to test their current-events and pop-culture smarts.
Studio 2.0 will produce the show with sibling division Telepictures Productions, home to syndicated fare such as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Extra," "Tyra" and celebrity website TMZ.com.
"Hardly News" will be an interactive, news-based show heavy on the satire, a la "The Colbert Report," and will include gaming elements.
Studio 2.0 is one of a number of partners on Bud.TV, said Tony Ponturo, VP-global media and sports marketing at A-B. The network will use a desktop application that will allow users to view the content full-screen with DVD quality.