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Comedy Central poaches Gleam short-form expert

Pay TV channel Comedy Central UK is to push heavily into short-form video after hiring Claire McArdle from social talent agency Gleam Futures.

McArdle will be VP, Comedy Central International Studios, based out of London and reporting to Comedy Central and MTV UK managing director Jill Offman.

She will commission digital originals, focusing on identifying and attracting influential social talent to work across multiple platforms.

Before working at talent house Gleam, where she was head of content IP development and worked with the likes of Caspar Lee and Joe Sugg, McArdle developed and produced online content at Maverick. This saw her create content around Fresh Meat, Food Hospital and Welcome to Mahagonny.

She has also worked at Channel 4 and Banijay Group’s Scottish prodco The Comedy Unit.

At the same time, Comedy Central is building out its in-house digital content team, with six new editorial hires working under new managing editor Cat Collins, who reports into Joanna Wells, who in turn as been promoted to VP, digital content across Comedy Central UK and MTV UK.

This editorial team will produce a daily feed of topical content for its digital and social channels, focusing on Comedy Central’s efforts on the Snapchat Discover platform, and short-form content based on the channel’s TV shows.

Content will also be housed in a new digital hub, CC Shorts, while also being seeded on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The first original, The Jaack and Maates Show, which has been produced with online content platform FUBAR Radio, will be presented by YouTube star JaackMaate and features other such as Cian Twomey and Emma Blackery.

A deal is also in place with LOCO, Britain’s online comedy film festival, to exclusively publish short films from the event on CC Shorts, YouTube and other platforms.

This comes after Comedy Central recorded a 250% year-on-year increase in traffic to this point of 2016.

“The internet would be a desolate and dreary place without comedy,” said Offman. “Our mission is to be Always Funny for our fans wherever, whenever and however they want to watch us.”