The over-the-top (OTT) video world might be crowded, but it’s only going to become more so as publishers of all kinds launch
their own streaming bundles. It’s hard to be
the next Netflix or Hulu, the thinking goes, but
there’s plenty of room left for niche services
tailored to specific demos.
To find out what goes into launching an OTT
service, we spoke with Adam Rymer, president of Legendary Digital Networks (LDN).
Legendary’s story started back in 2000 when
Thomas Tull founded Legendary Entertainment
as a film financing and production company.
Set up at Warner Bros., it co-produced such
films as Batman: The Dark Knight, The Hangover, and 300. With that success, it grew and diversified. In 2012, it acquired Nerdist Industries,
a geek-focused production company created by
Chris Hardwick. Soon after, it acquired Felicia
Day’s Geek & Sundry and Amy Poehler’s Smart
Girls. Combining those three properties, the
company started LDN. While LDN started out as
a You Tube publisher, it has followed the times
and created content for Facebook, You Tube,
Vessel, go90, Twitter, and any other platform
where it could find an audience.
In January 2016, Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, purchased
Legendary. Wanda also owns the AMC movie
theater chain and is currently making a push
LDN is based in Burbank, Calif., where it has a
40,000' soundstage and production center near
the airport. Staff includes editors, salespeople,
finance workers, producers, directors, and post-production wizards—everything needed to create, distribute, and sell online content. Other
Legendary divisions create TV shows, movies,
and comic books.
Streaming Media spoke to Rymer a few weeks
before LDN launched Alpha, its first OTT play, in
late November. Alpha is targeting the modern
comic and tech geek, but distinguishes itself by
featuring live video and an online community.
While it doesn’t have a lot of proven hits, it offers
a chance to take part in something more than
just another VOD service.
Streaming Media: Alpha was supposed to launch
in early November, but that was pushed back.
Why was that?
Adam Rymer: The initial plan was to launch
Nov. 3, but as we got into the testing period we
found a couple of things that needed to be fixed
before we went public with it. That pushed it
back by a couple weeks.
What we’re trying to do in Alpha is something that has never been done on a mass scale
before. Alpha is built around live streaming—
it’s a live-streaming video experience with interactivity features. When you’re inside of Alpha,
you’ll see that there are not only traditional
things, like video-on-demand, but there’s also
Launching Alpha: A Q&A on
Creating and Launching an OTT Service By Troy Dreier
Adam Rymer says
Alpha from other
O TT offerings.