It's been about a month since HBO spun off HBOlab, its digital content studio, to L.A.-based entertainment company Break Media. Break got the HBOlab teamincluding cable industry vet Danila Kovermanand its roster of shows as part of the deal. I asked Koverman, who now serves as the director of development at Break's new content lab, about what the HBOlab team has gained (or lost) as part of the transition, and whether we'll see more consolidation in online video.
What was the climate at HBO like leading up to the acquisition?
They let us do our thing for almost three years, but it became clear that we'd need a strategic partner or buyer to get better distribution for our shows. The bottom line was that there were two contrasting business models: they're a subscription-based business, and we created ad-supported content. We were working with a limited budget, and needed more resources to really work on advertising and sponsorships.
How will the HBOlab content fit into Break's existing library?
By mid-May, we expect to give Man in the Box and Elevator their own channels on Break. But a show with integrated social media components like Hooking Up doesn't need to move; it's going to stay on YouTube. We're in talks for season twoand we want to be able to weave in the same ability to interact with the characters through things like their MySpace profiles and YouTube vlogs.
YouTube is bulking up on premium content, Sony's Crackle.com is rolling out new series and Hulu continues to grow. Is there enough ad revenue left for indie video sites like Break.com?
I think its just like cable in the early dayseach of these sites serves a specific niche. It's just about how you package it for the advertisers. Break's target audience is males 18-34, and we get about 18 million monthly uniques. So we have the scale, and now we have the variety of content. We can give guys original series and shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which serve as a safe-haven for brands, alongside their UGC.
By Tameka Kee