Spike Brings UFC Video Archive Online

Spike TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) just launched Ultimatefighter.com, a site that features every single episode of the last 10 seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. It offers fans the option of watching just the fights without any of the trash talking, and each and every fight is annotated, making it possible to skip straight to key moves and moments. The site also features exclusive content not aired on TV, but won’t carry any episodes of upcoming season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter — which is scheduled to start this weekend — until it’s aired in its entirety on Spike TV.

Erik Flannigan, EVP of digital media for MTV Networks (s VIA), which counts Spike among its portfolio of channels, told me today during a phone conversation that this release window is part of Spike’s strategy to treat The Ultimate Fighter as an outcome-based reality show that is enjoyed best on TV. Flannigan also said that the window helps to bridge the off-season gap, but added that Spike could possibly add live streams of UFC fights to Ultimatefighter.com in the future.

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NewTeeVee Live: Comedy Central Gets 500,000 Online Viewers From HuffPost, No Joke

Erik Flannigan, Executive Vice President of Digital Media at MTV Networks Entertainment Group, shared some interesting details at our NewTeeVee Live conference today about the way his networks are utilizing online video. Flannigan’s job is overseeing the web sites of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and these sites have been generating tons of video views for the network. Take Jon Stewart ripping into Fox News, for example. Clips like that receive 500,000 viewers from Huffington Post alone.
Flannigan doesn’t fear that people will shun their cable subscription for HuffPost’s embedded clips and ColbertNation streams. “Putting content online isn’t eating into your network ad sales”, he told the audience of NewTeeVee Live. Comedy Central’s online video traffic is always in sync with its network ratings. “That’s a good thing if you have hits and a bad thing if you don’t,” he added. Part of MTVN’s strategy for the future is to actually disintegrate these properties a little bit so online can have more a life of its own.
So what’s in store for monetizing Comedy Central and Spike TV content online? Flannigan said that he doesn’t see big changes ahead for some of it’s most popular shows. The network produces 160 episodes each year for both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and he doesn’t see anyone spend 99 cents for each episode anytime soon. In other words: Advertising is where it’s at, and the cake is only gonna get bigger.
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Is There a Future for Original Web Series?

When EQAL told us earlier this month that it was getting out of the original webisodic entertainment game to focus on creating digital experiences for established brands, we took note. These were, after all, the guys behind Lonelygirl15, arguably the most successful original web series ever. If they didn’t see much of a future in original web content, who does?

EQAL’s move followed ABC shuttering its new media studio, Stage 9, and 60Frames closing down, both of which were built around the idea of creating original episodic content for the web.

Even the companies that are still making original web series increasingly seem to have some kind of old media hook attached to their productions. Crackle brought onboard Ed Brubaker and Zoe Bell for Angel of Death, and told us that it’s looking to spend more on talent both behind and in front of the camera on its productions. Electric Farm Entertainment, which previously worked with Rosario Dawson on Gemini Division, is partnering with MTV for the upcoming vampire series Valemont, and cast Jon Heder as the lead in its zombie comedy Woke Up Dead.

With so many creators looking to old media for its new media inspiration, what does the future hold for straight-up original web series?

To find out more, head over to GigaOM Pro, where I expand on this topic with views from execs at Electric Farm Entertainment, Crackle, and MTV Networks. GigaOM Pro is our subscription research service where you can get access to deep dive articles and original research reports from top analysts on a wide variety of topics including the connected home, mobile technology, green IT and infrastructure.

Mika Salmi Leaving MTV Networks

Mika Salmi will leave his position as president of MTV Networks’ global media division at the end of March, it was announced today in an internal MTV memo. According to paidContent, his role in the company will not be replaced. We pinged Salmi to find out more and he emailed us back the following:

I had planned to take a short break after I sold Atom because I hadn’t had one since grad school but then I was offered the opportunity at viacom/mtvn so I delayed it. It is time for that now!

Salmi came to MTV through Viacom’s (s via.b) $200 million acquisition of Atom Entertainment (which itself was a merger between Atomfilms.com, which Salmi founded, and Shockwave.com) in August of 2006. He was a key proponent of Viacom’s “thousand front doors strategy” — creating web presences for individual Viacom properties like TheDailyShow.com, and expanding the company’s social networking efforts.

He also has the prestigious honor of being the first speaker at our first NewTeeVee Live Conference back in November 2007. Here’s a video of his talk (his part starts a couple minutes in):

On a personal note, I worked for Salmi during my time at AtomFilms, and he was a stand-up guy. You could get the sense that being a cog (though a really big one) in the Viacom corporate machine was not really for him. This was a guy who used to skateboard to work. At heart, he’s a serial entrepreneur. One time I told him that I had taken windsurfing lessons, to which he replied “That’s cool, when I was in high school I had my own windsurfing shop.” I’m sure his already got his next company in mind.

MTVN Reps JibJab, Spike.com Gets Porn

There’s funny business going on at MTV Networks (s VIA) today, as two divisions within the company made separate announcements that broadened its comedic presence online.

MTV Networks expanded its “Tribes” vertical ad network with the launch of its Comedy Tribe. While the new ad network is anchored by ComedyCentral.com, MTVN also announced that famed viral video/e-greeting company JibJab has signed on as a publisher in the vertical ad network.

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Under the agreement, MTVN will be the exclusive sales rep for all advertising on JibJab.com as well as JibJab’s brand integrations and custom sponsorships. JibJab, which found success in presidential parodies and e-greetings like OfficeMax’s ElfYourself holiday season greeting last year, recently raised $7.5 million in Series C funding. JibJab claims it got 105 million visitors in 2008 and has 6.3 million registered users.

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Vid-Biz: YouTube, Jaman, Kwiry

YouTube Mutes Infringing Music; instead of yanking the entire clip, just the infringing soundtrack is removed, resulting in a silent video. (Mashable)

Jaman Expands into Europe; online movie service also hires former MySpace Exec David Fisher to head up localized UK site. (emailed release)

Kwiry Lets You Program Your TiVo via TXTs; service works without a mobile browser; after setup, just text “TiVo” the name of the show and a code. (CNET)

MTVN Signs On With Panache; video ad company to serve video ads to the network’s sites. (MediaPost)

House Republicans Want to Keep DTV Transition Date; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) along with 14 other House Republicans sent a letter to Obama, urging him to keep the date as is. (MediaWeek)

U.S. Patent Office to Reexamine TiVo’s “Time Warp” Patent; it’s the latest twist in the ongoing legal dispute between EchoStar and the DVR maker. (Broadcasting & Cable)

NBC Digital Entertainment Ups Emre Celik; Celik gets promoted to become the units’ vice president of technology. (emailed release)

Vid-Biz: SAG, Starbucks, Freddies

SAG Head Ready for a Fight; Alan Rosenberg has called the producers’ recent deals with directors and writers unsatisfactory for his union. (The New York Times)

Starbucks Expands Pick of the Week to Music Videos; coffee chain to offer free music vids via iTunes. (MarketWatch)

Channel Frederator Award Nominees Announced; vote for your favorite Flash, CG or Funniest vid. (Channel Frederator)

Networks Say A La Carte Cable Would be “Devastating”; MTVN, Turner and Disney among those that sent a letter to FCC Chair Kevin Martin imploring him to drop this particular endeavor. (Multichannel News)

MSN Money Gets on the Money Track; segments from the PBS show to run on finance site. (MediaWeek)

Juno DVD and Download Released on Same Day; hit indie film available in both formats as of yesterday. DVD includes digital copy of the film. (TWICE)

Tremor Media Launches New Ad Platform; Acudeo lets advertisers schedule and consolidate delivery of in-stream video and overlay ads into one central console. (release)