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It’s YouTube’s most viewed viral video of all time. But does virality equal longevity?
Harry and Charlie Davies-Car, stars of their hit amateur Charlie Bit My Finger video, will appear in new “original programming” in a deal between viral video management firm Viral Spiral and online video distributor Rightster.
The 56-second 2007 video, in which then one-year-old baby Charlie Davies-Carr bites his three-year-old brother Harry’s finger, has been viewed around 486.5 million times on YouTube.
Now Rightster and Viral Spiral are teaming to create Viral Studios to finance and co-produce new videos. Viral Spiral CEO Damien Collier, who snagged Charlie as his first client 18 months ago, told me:
“We’ve taken the lead of their dad. We don’t apply any pressure – quite the opposite.
“There’s always been a desire from the boys and their father to do more. They have a lot of home movies already online. The boys are naturals in front of camera and wanted to do more.
“The intention is to create new formats including one called Kings Of YouTube, which will see the boys watching and reviewing new viral videos as they break.
“The intention is to sell sponsorship around advertising. Once we have a format that’s successful, we absolutely want to take it on to TV.”
The new show will be a more professionally-produced, piece-to-camera affair from the brothers.
The family has already made “in excess of £100,000″ from its web video, father Howard said in February. Charlie-branded mobile apps have since been unleashed, garnering 100,000 downloads in the first week, according to Collier.
“We’ve licensed his video all over the world to TV shows and ad agencies for campaigns from Samsung, LG, Sprint and Gurgle,” said Collier, whose firm also represents many other popular videos starring babies and animals.
The new deal is an interesting example of what happens when huge view counts make internet celebrities out of amateurs.
Viral Spiral just launched a Where’s Wally?-style book called Find Fenton, based on the dog, Fenton, in the infamous Jesus Christ In Richmond Park video. Fenton is also set to star in a large advertising for a major brand next month, Collier revealed to paidContent.
At the same time as all this, Rightster is announcing several new hires from big companies in what looks like a growth period for the business. Former Google TV content and strategy chief Donagh O’Malley is joining as global platforms VP and US general manager.
Meanwhile, Rightster has hired two former ITV executives – former multiplatform video head Jonathan Bates and former sponsored multiplatform content head Ben Freeman – as its content director and Rightster Studios head respectively. Those moves follow former ITV digital director Robin Pembrooke’s appointment at product and solutions VP this September.