Machinima, a specialty YouTube network devoted mainly to gaming aficionados, announced Monday that it is rebranding under the tagline “Heroes Rise.”
The network -- which offers game walk-throughs, gaming news, exclusive trailers and original series -- will renew focus on its talent network as well as the overlap between fandom and gamer cultures.
“We looked at where our audience is versus what it was a couple of year ago,” Machinima Chief Executive Chad Gutstein told the Los Angeles Times. “While game play and gamer culture is a huge part of what we do, it’s not the only thing. The brand repositioning needed to reflect where the audience had gone.”
In 2000, the programming service launched as a website for filmmakers using video game environments and characters to create original stories. Now the network boasts one of the largest millennial audiences with more than 30,000 creators, 400 million subscribers and 3 billion monthly views.
Machinima has also created its own original series, including "Mortal Kombat: Legacy," a multipart scripted drama, and the live-action series "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," which tapped into the appeal of video game franchises.
But amid the growth, the channel also had its share of internal setbacks. It underwent a round of layoffs in 2012. A year later, in November 2013, Machinima co-founder Allen DeBevoise stepped down as chief executive.
With the rebranding, Machinima is rolling out new services for its talent, including a Level Up Talent Program that defines the scope of services that creators can receive within the network.
Creators can also use a new platform called Console to access earnings reports, social tools, in-depth analytics and support.
“We are really focused on working with our talent network and consider services we offer the talent network a core priority,” Gutstein said.
Meanwhile, advertisers also will likely benefit from changes, the network says.
In recent years, companies have used Machinima to promote products. Verizon Communications Inc. promoted availability of several live FiOS TV channels over Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. Unilever used Machinima in its campaign to promote Axe antiperspirant.
Brand partners will now be able to use a Legion Viewer Panel to listen and engage with 10,000 viewers to get a deeper understanding of their preferences over time.
“These platforms we are operating on … which are nontraditional from a TV perspective, is one of the ways millennials like to engage in their video content,” Gutstein said. “Advertisers have always generally chased younger audiences because that’s where they can get the opportunity to brand build.”
Gutstein said he hopes the rebranding will allow Machinima to continue growing its audience and talent network.
“When our gamers are playing the games they love to play, they are on their heroes' journeys," Gutstein said. "And when our creators are going from being unknown to having audiences in the tens of millions … they are on their own heroes' journey as well. Machinima is and always has been a place where heroes rise.”
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