Maker Studios Wants to Make a Little Something for Everyone

Disney-owned multi-channel network asks, 'Who are you?'

Last year, Maker Studios asked attendees at its Digital Content NewFronts presentation to learn what "I am Maker" means. In 2015, it's turning the tables and asking brands, agencies and the public, "Who are you?"

"Everything is narrowing—niche casting becomes the new norm, so the old blanket approaches won't yield the same results," Maker Studios chief content officer Erin McPherson said

The Disney-owned multi-channel network, or MCN, unveiled a slate of more than 200 shows in development, 30 of which it is actively pursuing now. To explain the wide variety of programming, McPherson emphasized that Maker Studios knows its millennial and Gen Z audiences demand more focused content to appeal to their individual tastes. Currently, the MCN has 55,000 independent creaters from more than 100 countries, and gets more than 10 billion views a month.

"At Maker, we think about distribution, about connecting the right content with the right audience across all platforms," McPherson said.  

Maker Studios' new series include:

  • Maker Tales is a gritty, live-action take on classic fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood and Pinocchio.  
  • American Woman is Maker Studios' attempt to enter the 2016 election conversation with a series exploring the history of the original 13 colonies through the eyes of women. It is produced in conjunction with ABC's Lincoln Square Productions.  
  • I Am Maker is a reality TV series in development with ABC Family that follows 10 up-and-coming YouTubers mentored by Maker's top talent as they launch their online careers.  
  • CAMP follows youth at a fictional summer camp exploring their sexuality and is based on James Franco's Palo Alto: Stories. The project was developed through Maker Labs with Franco's production company, Rabbit Bandini.  
  • Upcoming content with stylist Rachel Zoe  
  • Summer X Games programming in conjunction with ESPN  
  • Marvel programming with the comic book publisher  
  • Online video network MiTú and Starcom MediaVest's group LiquidThread will collaborate with the MCN to create content targeted toward Hispanic youth

Maker also unveiled Maker Select, a way for ad buyers to purchase content on its YouTube inventory. The new offering, which was created in conjunction with Outrigger Media's Open Slate platform, will offer Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings and already has both DigitasLBi and Starcom MediaVest on board.

"Our basic need for human connection has only been enforced and emboldened," McPherson said. "We are all turned into makers, and our canvas proliferates daily."