The new branding of Ben Silverman has commenced. But his new digital company, from the now ex-NBC Entertainment chief, is still in a state of flux.
Silverman said in two separate interviews the company will be "Reveille Meets BBDO"; then, "Warner Bros. Meets BBDO." He told Advertising Age the former; the New York Times got the latter. Did he change his mind between interviews?
Reveille is Silverman's former production company (sold to Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine TV). Warner Bros. is, well, Warner Bros. That means "big" and "established." Reveille seems to suggest "independent," perhaps "edgy."
Silverman's long-term friendly partners in branded entertainment deals for shows he produced -- TV marketers -- are getting a picture, somewhat fuzzy, of what Silverman's next venture will be. This makes perfect sense for a true entertainment impresario.
Silverman's new company, being helped by Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp., is already looking for a name, projects, and, of course, partners and investors with cash.
His leaving NBC revealed one interesting thing about his two-year run as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment. Silverman was supposed to be the creative guy to co-chair Marc Graboff's emphasis on business responsibilities. Turns out Silverman didn't have much going in his key area. "I was a manager, I was no longer a picker, a chooser of shows; I would do HR meetings and finance meetings and retreats," Silverman told Advertising Age.
TV networks are built around the fragile creative connection between mid- and lower-level executives. A top network executive typically provides some creative leadership. But he'll always be laden with the responsibility for failure. Lightning in a bottle? Network executives will get the credit.
Turns out it isn't just Silverman that'll get a little extra brand re-working.
"Clearly we are going to have to re-message NBC's brand," Jeff Gaspin, incoming chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, told the New York Times. "We have to make shows that are successful enough to charge a premium to advertisers. It's the only way to do well in network television." Hmm... Sounds like this will be different than where Silverman is going. Don't expect to see messaging suggesting: "The New Peacock: NBC meets Group M" or "Must-See TV: NBC meets Starcom."