August 6, 2015
Ellation, a new brand for subscription-based online video services, is about to be unveiled by Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group. When it rolls out, Ellation — whose name is a play on words on the Aleutian Islands, a series of interconnected islands between Alaska and Russia — will host Crunchyroll, Creativebug and SoompiTV. Otter Media’s goal is to build between 30 and 50 niche video channels under the aegis of Ellation, which has been in development for the past few months.
In an exclusive, Variety also revealed that former YouTube executive Tom Pickett will lead Ellation, and that, in the last few days, Otter Media and Crunchyroll staffers have switched their LinkedIn profile affiliations to Ellation.
A new website has also launched, with the mission statement: “We build premium video experiences for passionate fans and provide sustainable business models for content creators.”
When Otter Media launched in April 2014, it had $500 million at its disposal to grow ventures in the online video space. The group acquired majority stakes in multi-channel network and services company Fullscreen, anime video subscription service Crunchyroll and Creativebug.
Before its acquisition by Otter Media, Crunchyroll had plans to build an online video subscription platform for users; the plan accelerated after the purchase, with former Hulu and YouTube staff coming on board.
The success of Crunchyroll — which has 600,000 subscribers paying for niche content — emboldens Otter Media in its new Ellation venture. Of course, notes Variety, “nobody knows how many of these superfan communities actually exist, and how many online video services consumers are willing to add to their monthly bill.”