Los Angeles Business Journal

YouTube Companies Turn to Traditional TV

By Natalie Jarvey Thursday, April 4, 2013

Online video companies might be influencing viewers' decisions to cut the cord to their television sets, but some are also turning to traditional TV for their marketing campaigns.

At least two L.A. companies that focus on the YouTube space have started advertising on TV.

YouTube channel Wigs, which produces scripted dramas starring female leads, began advertising on Fox last month. And YouTube network Machinima on Sunday aired an advertisement during AMC’s primetime block.

Wigs’ ad on Fox came about through a partnership that the YouTube channel signed with the TV network in February. Through the deal, Fox will help develop, distribute and market Wigs’ online series.

“Obviously Fox has an enormous relationship with advertisers and they have a large reach,” said Jon Avnet, co-creator of Wigs. “There’s just a tremendous amount of opportunities.”

Ads for Wigs shows – including “Blue” starring Julia Stiles – began airing on Fox on March 8 and have appeared during series such as “Touch” and “The Following.”

Meanwhile, West Hollywood YouTube network Machinima aired its first television advertisement during AMC’s “The Talking Dead,” a chat show centered on zombie hit “The Walking Dead.”

The 60-second spot was for Machinima’s live-action series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2.”

A spokeswoman for Machinima said it was the first time a YouTube network has paid for an ad on TV.

It might seem counterintuitive that companies built around the YouTube platform are looking to market through more traditional channels. But Avnet predicted that more of these partnerships will form in coming years because the YouTube channels can create quality content on the cheap and the TV studios can generate an audience for those shows.

“The relationship between the web-based world and the traditional world will dissolve in the next few years,” he said. “That would be my guess.”