FYI 11.15.07

Digital Studio Deca Inks New Content Deals

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While striking writers continue to picket, a host of new production companies is continuing to expand entertainment opportunities beyond Hollywood. This week digital entertainment studio Deca has signed several new content deals, including one with Larry Lyttle, whose production credits include "Judge Judy," "Judge Joe Brown" and "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment," among other programs.
Other new partnerships include Peter Rojas of Engadget fame, Suicide Girls and Alex Albrecht, cohost of Diggnation.

Deca already produces Boing Boing TV, which is shown on Virgin America and sponsored by Sandisk and IBM. It's one of several new production companies trying to create digital entertainment hits; others include Next New Networks, Sony's Crackle and Revision3.

The company has worked with Federated Media on ad placements but also "bake in the rights to add sponsorship opportunities," said Michael Wayne, CEO and co-founder. The company will roll the new programs out in early 2008. --Abbey Klaassen

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There's more testing of the ad-supported music waters with the launch of Rcrd Lbl (say: "record label"), which will give music from its bands away by having sponsors foot the bill. The first three brands to join up are Virgin America, Nikon and Puma. The brands will try out a few interesting ad applications, including sponsored widgets that allow fans to put band content on their blogs and social networking pages and Virgin is tying in an offline component, using the music and the brand in its inflight entertainment services.

The new label is one of many experiments of late in the space. The much-hyped Spiralfrog announced it would make its debut by year's end as the first free, ad-supported major music service to offer downloadable MP3s of songs from a major-label music catalog (in this case Universal Music), with Perry Ellis as its first sponsor. Another service, Qtrax, from a company called Rebel Digital will officially kick off in the U.S. by year's end and has an international launch is set for early 2008.

Radiohead also recently tested a model where fans could pay what they wanted for the band's newest release, "In Rainbows."

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Digital Kitchen, which is creative services agency for client AT&T's U-verse, said it has created an array of branded-entertainment programming for the recently launched digital cable network. AT&T's U-Verse is a high-speed network that will compete with cable operators in providing broadband, entertainment and other services.

The agency, a full-service production design firm, said it is collaborating directly with AT&T on the multimillion-dollar initial phase of U-verse's rollout in several markets, including most of California plus 12 other states. The original content seen on U-verse's proprietary channels is programmed entirely by Digital Kitchen out of its Santa Monica offices (the agency also has offices in Chicago and Seattle).

Digital Kitchen has worked on camapigns for Budweiser, HBO, Coca-Cola and Showtime and for clients including Sundance, Microsoft and Screenvision.
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