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Maker will create Star Wars, Marvel shortform content

Disney Maker StudiosThe Walt Disney Company is planning to allow multichannel network Maker Studios to create shortform online video for Mouse House franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel Universe.

Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger yesterday described the decision to acquire Maker for a potential US$950 million was made primarily down to the MCN’s online distribution capabilities.

“We did not believe that we had the ability in the Company near term to distribute as effectively and to sell as effectively,” he said. “We also thought they had an expertise from a production and a creative perspective on creating short-form video that we didn’t think was as deep as it could’ve been at Disney.

“We believe that by creating access for the Maker people to some of our big brands and characters and storytelling, Star Wars would be a perfect example of that, Marvel, another one, that we can actually allow Maker to substantially improve the distribution or the reach of short-form video using these characters and stories, but also add their expertise on the production side.”

Maker chief content officer Erin McPherson confirmed the plan at Maker’s Digital Content NewFront presentation in New York: “We will access the Disney library to create all forms of new shortform content.”

Iger also said the Maker acquisition offered Disney a “a great marketing opportunity”.

His comments on an investor call came as Maker this week unveiled its latest shows at his Digital Content Newfront in New York, and a major new advertising deal with Omnicom described by AdAge as an “eight-figure” sum.

Maker announced it is launching a consumer-focussed web portal, Maker.tv, that will include exclusive premium content not available on YouTube. Some content from Maker.tv will be windowed.

Maker is also working with doc maker Morgan Spulock on a new YouTube channel called Smartish and YouTube content creator Chester See.