ITV’s Hazlitt Among Investors In Branded Games Start-Up We R Interactive

By Mark Sweney: ITV’s new commercial head, Fru Hazlitt, the advertising veteran Peter Mead and Eric Fellner, the co-chairman of the Four Weddings and a Funeral maker Working Title, have taken stakes in a new venture to create social games for smartphones and websites including Facebook.

The company, called We R Interactive, hopes to follow in the footsteps of hugely successful companies such as Zynga, creator of global online hits such as Farmville, which runs on Facebook.

We R Interactive claims it will develop a much higher-quality gaming experience, bringing together the film and games industries “to develop products the likes of which we have never been seen before”.

“[We R Interactive] will be one of the first companies to successfully combine online gaming with high-quality broadcast content,” said Hazlitt. “They are crossing the divide between the worlds of high-quality video content and massive multi-layer online games.”

The company has been founded by David Rose, a former senior executive at Eidos and PlayStation with gaming credits including Championship Manager and Hitman, the ex-ITV (LSE: ITV) executive Oli Madgett and the Ingenious Media non-executive director Richard Dale.

Co-founders also include Chris Kelly and Tom Thirlwall, the respective co-founder and chief executive of the production company Bigballs Films, and have worked on the acclaimed web drama KateModern, which ran on the social networking website Bebo.

In addition, We R Interactive has attracted the backing, and investment, of Hazlitt, Fellner and Mead, the co-founder of one of London’s most respected ad agencies, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. It is not known what the size stake each of the three have taken in We R Interactive.

Fellner said that the first project would be “genre defining”. “I believe We R are in the best position to deliver a ground-breaking fusion of online video game and narrative story-telling,” he added.

“This is branded content, but not as you know it … It is where the game and film industries collide,” said Rose. “We are backed by some of the most influential people in media and finance and our management team is recognised as leaders in their fields.”

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..