Rogers buys into Eisner studio

The minority stake in Vuguru comes with Canuck rights to web content - to be funneled through web, mobile and cable VOD.

Rogers Media has taken a minority stake in Michael Eisner’s new-media studio Vuguru, in return for controlling the Canadian rights to its web-based content.

The former Walt Disney Co. CEO launched Vuguru in 2006 within The Tornante Corp., his new-media incubator that partnered with Rogers on select projects, including its first web-based series, Prom Queen. Rogers Media also recently acquired Glenn Martin, DDS, Eisner’s stop-motion animation series, for its Citytv schedule.

The new deal cements Rogers’ relationship with Eisner, and will allow Los Angeles-based Vuguru to operate as a stand-alone web-content generator. Eisner will become chairman of Vuguru, with a CEO and staff to be filled out. Further, the studio will become a volume player, going from a dozen series currently to 30 self-financed shows per year.

‘We are thrilled to partner with Michael Eisner’s Vuguru team, as they have a proven track record of making hits and producing innovative, advertiser-friendly new-media content,’ said Claude Galipeau, SVP of Rogers Digital Media, in a statement.

When asked if that would include brand and content integration opportunities, Galipeau told MiC, ‘Yes, that is our plan, as Vuguru has worked to do brand integration before in multiple markets.’

Rogers intends to program Vuguru series exclusively for its customers and advertisers across a range of platforms, including broadband web, mobile and cable VOD.

The Vuguru pipeline includes Prom Queen: The Homecoming, the next installment in the franchise, as well as The Booth at the End, a psychological thriller directed by Jessica Landaw, and Pretty Tough, a novel-to-web adaptation from Liz Tigelaar.

Other new-media content from Vuguru includes the scripted mockumentary The All-For-Nots, about an under-funded tour by an indie rock band, and Foreign Body, a prequel web-series streaming ahead of the release of a Robin Cook novel.

Vuguru also has Back on Topps, a comedy about two brothers making their way in the sports world, in development as a TV pilot.

From Playback Daily, with files from Media in Canada