Demand Media announced the beta launch of a new "Talent & Expert Network". This network resides within its current content creation platform (Demand Studios), and will include what the company calls "authentic and entertaining personalities." Content from this network will be integrated into articles and videos, and will be expanded to new episodic programming and branded entertainment content across hundreds of categories.
For example, former Travel Channel Host Rolf Potts has been working with Demand Media on a video series "Two-Minute Travel Tips" for USA Today's new Travel Tips website (a partnership Demand Media announced a couple months ago). They're also working on two other projects together, which will appear on various Demand Media properties.
"In the last 25 years an entirely new generation of creative talent was discovered and made famous through the medium of cable television. Yet, as audiences and advertisers have embraced online, established talent are searching to find the right opportunities in this new medium," says Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt. "We built our publishing platform to produce quality content at scale, and we are now doing the same for talent discovery. We can deliver large audiences who desire to be informed and entertained, using a platform that allows talent to build their brand."
"We've grown our media properties tremendously over the past few years in large part by leveraging credible experts and engaging talent to inform and entertain audiences," adds Larry Fitzgibbon, executive vice president of Demand Media’s Properties. "By formalizing our Talent and Expert Network, we intend to discover and create new opportunities for our talent and engage our audience with smart, entertaining and informative content."
Demand Media's properties are currently ranked #16 on comScore’s list of top U.S. web properties, as the company points out. That's one of the reasons Demand Media's recent Facebook integration announcement was so significant. Demand Media's presence is also felt greatly on YouTube (often touted as the world's 2nd largest search engine). YouTube will of course be key for this new network.
"At YouTube we recently announced the site has exceeded over two billions views a day. With such a large, global audience, we value partners like Demand Media who can produce high quality, original content at incredible scale," says Kevin Yen, Director of Strategic Partnerships at YouTube. "We are excited to work with Demand Media as they continue to innovate and expand their platform to accelerate the growth of new media's emerging creative class of talent."
Demand Media's content production strategy has attracted no shortage of controversy, but the company has continued to emphasize a rigorous editorial policy, and this new network could go a long way in winning over some skeptics.