Michael Eisner's Vuguru and Rogers Media Strike Investment and Distribution Deal
Studio to Ramp Up Production to 30 Self-Financed Series Per Year
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 /CNW/ – Michael Eisner’s new media studio, Vuguru, has secured an investment and distribution partnership with Canada’s Rogers Media, the two companies announced today. Vuguru, which previously operated inside of The Tornante Company LLC, will become a stand-alone entity as part of the deal, effective immediately. Michael Eisner will serve as Chairman of the newly-formed company’s Board of Directors. Rogers and Vuguru have also entered into a long-term distribution agreement for the exclusive Canadian rights to future Vuguru projects.
The financial and distribution guarantee ensures that Vuguru will remain at the forefront of the ever-evolving business of original new media content. To maintain the steady growth and success that Vuguru has achieved since its inception in late 2006, the company plans to significantly increase the number of annual productions to 30 series a year, while it continues to work with brand sponsors and distribution platforms to meet their programming goals. Vuguru will also continue to seek out and leverage the international and ancillary partnerships that have proven successful in delivering content to a wide audience.
“This deal not only solidifies Vuguru’s position as a leader in the new media landscape, but it also allows us to stay true to our creative and business philosophy of owning and distributing high-quality, story-driven content,” said Michael Eisner. “Rogers is a world-class media organization and we are excited about the opportunities this relationship presents for both companies.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Michael Eisner’s Vuguru team, as they have a proven track record of making hits and producing innovative, advertiser-friendly new media content,” said Claude Galipeau, Senior Vice President, Rogers Digital Media. “Audiences are on the move, and we are following them across platforms and dayparts. This partnership means we can program Vuguru series exclusively for Rogers customers and advertisers across our unique range of channels, including broadband web, mobile and cable VOD.”
“This deal builds on the Rogers’ legacy of innovation. Our company is always looking to expand the content choices, regardless of platform, for our customers,” added Melinda Rogers, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Development, Rogers Communications.
In the months ahead Vuguru will launch Prom Queen: The Homecoming, the next installment in the hit Prom Queen franchise; The Booth at the End, a new psychological thriller created by Internet-savvy writer Christopher Kubasik and helmed by veteran television director Jessica Landaw; and Pretty Tough, an adaptation of a successful young adult novel from accomplished television writer and producer Liz Tigelaar. The 2010 slate is expected to include 10-15 new series.
Launched by The Tornante Company in late 2006, Vuguru produces and distributes innovative story-driven content for new media platforms. It has been a leader in original online content since it released the 2007 smash success, Prom Queen. Following the success of Prom Queen, Vuguru created The All-For-Nots, a scripted mockumentary that followed the misadventures of an indie rock band as they traveled across the U.S. on an ill-conceived and underfunded tour. In another first for the Internet, Vuguru distributed the 300 minutes of content simultaneously via the Internet, mobile phones and cable-TV. Vuguru next bridged the worlds of publishing and new media by producing Foreign Body, a prequel web-series released in advance of best-selling author Robin Cook’s latest novel. Vuguru’s Sports Emmy-nominated series Back on Topps, the comedic story of two brothers making their way in the sports world, was sold to Comedy Central and is currently in development as a television pilot.
About Vuguru LLC ----------------
Vuguru is a new media studio that produces and distributes innovative story-driven content for current and emerging new media platforms. The studio is uniquely positioned between the taste and storytelling of traditional media and the exciting flexibility of the new media landscape. Vuguru’s inaugural series Prom Queen pioneered the online serial space with its unique format and distribution. Follow-up series have included Prom Queen: Summer Heat, Sam Has 7 Friends, The All-For-Nots, Foreign Body and two seasons of the Emmy-nominated Back on Topps. Vuguru’s investors include Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company and Rogers Media.
About The Tornante Company LLC ------------------------------
The Tornante Company is a privately held company that invests in and incubates companies in the media and entertainment space. In addition to Vuguru, Tornante’s companies and investments include Tornante Animation (producer of Nickelodeon’s latest hit series Glenn Martin, DDS) and The Topps Company, Inc.
About Rogers Media Inc. -----------------------
Rogers Media Inc., a division of Rogers Communications Inc., (TSX: RCI; NYSE: RCI), operates Rogers Broadcasting and Rogers Publishing. Rogers Broadcasting has 54 AM and FM radio stations across Canada. Television properties include 5 Citytv stations as well as five OMNI multicultural television stations. Rogers Sportsnet, Canada’s live event leader, is comprised of four channels, all of which are available nationally and in high definition, and the Shopping Channel, is a televised and Internet shopping service. Rogers Publishing produces many well-known consumer magazines such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Flare, L’actualité and Canadian Business, and is the leading publisher of a number of industry, medical and financial publications. All media properties are integrated with their own popular web sites. Rogers Media also owns The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Rogers Centre, a year-round sports and entertainment facility.