When I first profiled YouTube (s GOOG) talent companies last June, the interesting thing about them was how different each was in approach and style, evolving to meet the demands of a nascent industry. And since writing that piece, one company has continued to evolve accordingly.
Over the past few months, head of talent management Sarah Evershed and CEO Steve Raymond have transformed what was once called The Cloud Media into Big Frame, a hybrid production/management company focused on, in Raymond’s words, “helping creators find their voices and build their audiences.”
As part of that, Big Frame has launched Bammo, a YouTube channel aimed at those who “want to create cool video content,” according to Raymond. With a production team headed up by Streamin’ Garage founder Mike Rotman, Bammo is currently putting out five shows a week, headed up by known YouTubers, under the following schedule:
- Monday: Tay Zonday‘s Lock Out
- Tuesday: DeStorm‘s Upgraded
- Wednesday: Mike Diva Presents
- Thursday: Mystery Guitar Man‘s Sandbox
- Friday: Behind the scenes of Bammo’s upcoming web series Sync
Sandbox is the clearest example of Bammo’s focus on helping aspiring creators improve their content — each week, Mystery Guitar Man introduces a theme challenge put to the YouTube community, such as “time” or “backwards,” and selects four favorites to showcase. It’s an interesting premise, enhanced by a smart use of YouTube annotations that essentially creates a remote control allowing viewers to check out the submitter’s home page or (more importantly) skip past video submissions they’re less interested in.
While Bammo may expand to include one or two more shows, Raymond aims to keep the channel relatively small. “Five shows, one every day — that’s a pretty big gamble for a company this young and this small. We don’t think we need to have thousands and thousands of channels in order to be successful.”
But Big Frame’s strategy also includes deals with outside programming. Last Friday, creator Matt Enlow launched his new show Squaresville in partnership with Big Frame — the first web series to do so.
Highly anticipated after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Squaresville is a quirky and charming coming-of-age story along the lines of dearly beloved series like Daria or Freaks and Geeks.
Enlow, in an IM interview, said that as part of his deal with Big Frame, he’s been offered “a ton of production resources.”
“I need extra help in the graphic design area, so they’re going to help me reskin my pages on YouTube and Tumblr,” he said. “And they have already given me access to sound and music libraries, which is tremendous.”
In addition, Enlow is actively working to collaborate with YouTube creators to help spread the word about the series. “That’s something that the web series world misses out on sometimes,” he said. “And Big Frame has definitely opened doors for that to happen. Even with other YouTubers [not affiliated with Big Frame], it lends a big degree of credibility that the show wouldn’t have if we were solo.”
Evershed sees Big Frame’s primary goals in 2012 as steady, sustainable growth in its network, both through new channel acquisition as well as developing their own content, and seeing new creators break out into the mainstream. “As YouTube started growing and expanding, I felt that a management company wasn’t a scalable business,” Evershed said. “But creating community has always been a through-line for what I’m doing.”
“We look at Big Frame as a new kind of media company,” Raymond said. “Because there is no formula for finding an audience — the most important thing is finding them.”