NBCU Reopens Digital Studio With Branded Content In Mind; OMG Digital Named Strategic Partner

This story was written by David Kaplan.
NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) has reformed its Digital Studio, which was shifted from the corporate side to the network side last year. The unit, which is charged with producing and discovering branded programming for its various digital properties, is partnering with Omnicom Media Group Digital on aligning its programming with advertisers. OMG Digital's sister companies Davie Brown Entertainment and OMG Entertainment and Sports will also be involved in creating shows around advertisers' marketing plans.

So far, two new shows from the Digital Studio are debuting later this summer. The first is a sci-fi cop show that mixes live action and animation called "Gemini Division." It stars Rosario Dawson ("Sin City"). Intel, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), UPS and Acura TSX are the participating sponsors. The second program is called "Woke Up Dead," and it's currently in pre-production. It concerns a college student who becomes caught up in intrigue involving government scientists, the military and religious zealots. NBCU didn't say what advertisers would be involved with that show. Outside digital production company Electric Farm Entertainment has been tapped to handle the creative and technological aspects of making the shows.

As we reported in November, the Digital Studio unit was originally part of the corporate group under chief digital officer George Kliavkoff. It had been producing original web programming, primarily with portals and some marketers. The "Digital Studio" name was slated to disappear as many of its functions headed west to be absorbed by NBC Digital Entertainment. That group is headed by Vivi Zigler, EVP, NBC Digital Entertainment and New Media, who oversees Cameron Death, who was VP-content and is now VP, Digital Studio.

Today's announcement also came with a flurry of new staff additions and executive reshuffling. Coincidentally, Suhaila Suhimi joins the Digital Studio as director of Brand Strategy from Omnicom media shop OMD. She was recently East Coast digital director there. Nichol DeGruccio has been named executive producer, Digital Production for Digital Studios as well. DeGruccio has been with NBCU for seven years and previously served as executive producer for original, online video series. Release


By David Kaplan