from: David Bloom, Deadline.com –
The Playa Vista area of Los Angeles already is home to significant portions of Electronic Arts, the X Prize Foundation, Facebook and YouTube, among other media and tech firms. Now rumbles are that YouTube parent company Google may come there in a big way too. The online giant’s Los Angeles operations have been largely based in the old Chiat Day offices in L.A.’s Venice neighborhood (with the giant binoculars out front, all designed by Frank Gehry).
But now Google is reportedly searching for new, much bigger digs, in the old Hughes Aircraft hangar that once housed the world’s largest plane, the Spruce Goose. Google had previously retrofitted another Hughes Aircraft hangar into its sparkling YouTube Space L.A. facility, creating high-end production and post-production facilities for its most popular online-video creative talent to use for free.
That space has proved extremely popular with top YouTube creators and is already booked pretty much solid. It is across the street from the Spruce Goose hangar, which is as gigantic as one would expect for a former aircraft-building hangar for the world’s largest plane. In the years since the Goose headed off to Long Beach and then Oregon, the space has been used off and on as a film set, and partially converted into other office spaces.
An industry source confirmed the company is in very early conversations to rent 300,000 square feet of space in the Spruce Goose hangar from developer the Ratkovich Company. A Google spokeswoman declined comment on the rumors. Aside from the Google sales and engineering offices in Venice, and YouTube Space L.A. (which has about 30 employees), Google has a small sales operation in Orange County and another 30 or so YouTubers in Beverly Hills offices.
The whole area back in the 1990s was to be the original campus for DreamWorks SKG, but environmental concerns about nearby saltwater marshes and Ballona Creek scuttled those ambitious plans. Since then, the area has slowly added extensive townhouse developments, office buildings, retail and restaurants for all the people and low-density campus settings for tech and media firms that also include Microsoft, TMZ and Edgecast. It’s a modest bike ride from the ocean, about three miles north of Los Angeles International Airport and about five miles from the burgeoning tech-media scenes in Santa Monica and Culver City.
YEKRA.com has launched a do-it-yourself distribution platform that is designed to make it easy for sites to offer movies on demand over the Internet.
The plug-and-play VOD system is launching today with offerings largely from Warner Bros., including the Dark Knight Trilogy; the Lord of the RingsTrilogy; Happy Feet 1 & 2; The Great Gatsby; Man of Steel; Singing in the Rain; An American in Paris; The Notebook; The Neverending Story; Goodfellas and The Exorcist, among hundreds of titles. The system also can offer a more family-friendly subset of available films through a deal it has cut with the DOVE Family Foundation, and other slices of offerings focused on various genres and target audiences.
“One of the film industry’s biggest problems in the digital market is discovery, and we’ve made it our mission from day one to help filmmakers and studios connect their films to people where they already are, based on their interests,” said YEKRA CEO Lee Waterworth. “The cutting-edge technology of the YEKRA Theater is a major step in our company’s evolution, leading the way to what will hopefully be thousands, and ultimately millions of new points of curated distribution for digital content globally.”
It’s an interesting proposition, designed to make it easy for all kinds of digital sites to set up a VOD sales system that is part of the existing cross-platform Ultraviolet protocols and can show/sell films of many kinds while legally pulling down a revenue share from every sale or rental, typically between 10 and 25 percent. For more information, check out www.yekra.com.
Pluto.TV, which provides a curated over-the-top TV-like experience with 100 channels of video, has added channels for POPSUGAR, Hitfix, SpinMedia, Fullscreen and Complex Media. The site already pulls from providers such as Funny or Die and The Young Turks in genres such as news, pop culture, gaming, fitness and music.
The newest additions include content about videogaming from Complex and Fullscreen; music topics from SpinMedia (including from music sites VIBE, Spin and Stereogum) and Complex; film and TV from HitFix and SpinMedia; and pop culture and fitness from POPSUGAR.