Electus Juggles 30 Projects, Diller Touts Its Appeal

Barry Diller

Ben Silverman's Electus, which marries advertisers and programmers, has some 30 projects at various levels of development. Some productions are more standard network fare, while others are aimed at new-media distribution. 

"We are very clearly building a modern, contemporary model for the making of programming for both the Internet and for what we would call, so to speak, television," said Barry Diller, CEO of IAC, which owns the fledgling Electus.

The quasi-studio inked a deal earlier this month to develop a bilingual telenovela for MTV, with Procter & Gamble as a partner. Electus launched late last year after Silverman left the top entertainment post at NBC.

Diller has a long-term relationship with Silverman, dating back to an investment in Reveille, the production entity Silverman founded in 2002. Like Electus, that venture started by aiming to develop shows with advertisers on board for sponsorships and product placement.

IAC unwound its stake in Reveille in 2007, but maintained some minor rights that yielded $3.1 million in "profit participation" in the recent January-March quarter. An IAC representative said it is expected to be a one-time result and the company did not expect further gain. Reveille is owned by U.K.-based Shine.

On a call with analysts Wednesday, Diller said that Electus would not produce revenues of "any substance" for at least another year. But IAC, which had $386 million in revenue last quarter, also would not incur any "large costs."

Diller said it is "going to result in a substantive business, but that business is going to be years in the making."

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