The former heads of Machinima have formed a new "influencer-driven entertainment company" which further blurs the lines between media production and promotion by putting popular YouTubers and content producers on the same payroll.
The new company will be home to game developers, media makers, marketeers and high-profile YouTube personalities like Syndicate, which the founders hope will give rise to a company "delivering audience engagement, entertainment properties and brand value."
"The company was created to deliver a higher level of audience engagement, new entertainment properties and stronger value for brands," a press release reads. "Co-founders and former Machinima division heads Angelo Pullen and Luke Stepleton, along with former 'Duck Dynasty' Co-EP Hank Stepleton, have partnered with top-ranked YouTube gaming influencers Adam Montoya and Tom Cassell to form 3BlackDot."
"Our goal is simple: to deliver audience engagement, entertainment properties and brand value that harnesses the power of Influencer communities"
The new outfit will concentrate on four areas of business. Firstly, there is the 'Collective'; home to 3BlackDot's YouTube personalities. Second is the business' studio, or Entertainment IP Franchise Development, which will produce games, animation and other bespoke media. Similarly, Pickaxe - a production wing - will make content aimed at a 13-14 year old demographic, including animation, live-action and "non-scripted" content. Lastly, the Marketing and Brand Integration Services will pair clients with major influencers, presumably including the YouTube personalities mentioned above, to produce targeted campaigns.
"3BlackDot is launching with the industry's most talented professionals in entertainment content creation, game development and brand integrations," said Pullen. "Our goal is simple: to deliver audience engagement, entertainment properties and brand value that harnesses the power of Influencer communities."
One of the first projects on the books for the company is the "franchise development" of Zombie Killer Squad, which reached the top of app stores in many major territories, largely thanks to exposure from YouTube channel owners.
"We put zero promotional dollars behind traditional user acquisition so the immense success of Zombie Killer Squad was due to support from fans of YouTube talent SeaNanners and TheSyndicateProject, both featured in the game," said Luke Stepleton. "We're building influencer-driven properties into massive franchises and Zombie Killer Squad is just the beginning for us."
Hank Stepleton will also be producing a film extension of the franchise for the Pickaxe production arm of 3BlackDot.
Given the current controversies surrounding the already murky distinctions between product, coverage and advertising by many YouTube channels, 3BlackDot may wish to clarify exactly how it will be leveraging celebrities such as Syndicate in its promotional activities. The company's representatives have been contacted for comment.