Omnicom Hooks Up With New NBCU Digital Studio

NBCU Digital Studio GroupOmnicom Media Group Digital has signed on as the first strategic partner for the newly created NBC Universal Digital Studio, which will develop and produce branded content for NBC digital properties. With the deal in place, Suhaila Suhimi, OMD's East Coast digital director, has left the agency to join the new studio as director of brand strategy.

"This is the first time that programming with the distribution potential of NBC Universal will be centered from the start around advertisers," said Matt Spiegel, CEO of OMG Digital. Sister OMG companies Davie Brown Entertainment and OMG Entertainment and Sports are also involved in the partnership.

First up from the new digital studio is "Gemini Division," a sci-fi series starring Rosario Dawson and Justin Hartley, which is being developed around Intel, Microsoft, UPS and Acura TSX. Slated for 50 short-form episodes, it will premiere online this summer.

OMG Digital and the NBC Universal Digital Studio are also developing "Woke Up Dead," a comedy about a college student who turns into a zombie.

Both shows will be co-produced by Sony Pictures Television International and Electric Farm Entertainment, with NBC Universal Digital Studio acquiring all domestic distribution rights, including broadcast TV.

In addition to showing the Webisodes on still-unidentified NBC Web properties, plans also call for destination sites, online games, character blogs and mobile components.

While some reports said that NBC Universal would preview the two shows on broadcast or cable TV prior to their Internet premieres, the network could also choose to later develop the shows into half-hour TV episodes with both original and additional content.

NBC recently experienced an unsuccessful pickup of the MySpace series "Quarterlife" for its broadcast network, but has high hopes for the conversion of its own popular scifi.com Webisode series "Sanctuary" into a cable series on the Sci Fi Channel.

In her new position, Suhimi will report to former MSN executive Cameron Death, who was named NBC Universal's vice president of digital content last October and will now serve as vice president of the digital studio. Nichol DeGruccio, most recently NBC Universal's executive producer for original online video series, was named executive producer, digital production for the new studio.

Tags: strategy, tv
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