In the first 21 months following its $675 million acquisition by Disney in March 2014, Maker Studios created more big headlines with turnover in its executive suites — including the departures of president Ynon Kreiz and chief content officer Erin McPherson — than it did with its content.
But, now, things seem to be heating up for Maker. Last week, it announced its first linear TV show, “Crossroads of History,” which will debut on the History cable channel before being released to Maker and History’s respective digital platforms.
Today, Maker comes back with another big content play — a new talent and programming incubator, dubbed Maker Studios Spark. The program invites creators from YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram and other social video outlets to pitch original concepts that can be developed into series or cross-platform franchises.
The program has already been in operation for the last few months, during which time Maker has collaborated with dozens of creators in the program’s inaugural class as well as “greenlit” over 100 additional concepts for which creators produced on their own, with support from Maker.
Spark’s content covers verticals including gaming, lifestyle, family and entertainment , with concepts ranging from fictional first dates between historical figures and the secret lives of wigs to a post-apocalyptic puppet show and one-minute musicals.
The program’s inaugural class includes “Ellen Degeneres Show” alum Sophia Grace, Beau’s Toy Farm (above), prank star Magic of Rahat, father-daughter team RealityChangers, gamer Chris Pirillo, and Viner Nampaikid.
The first video to come out of the program, “Intro To…” by The Holderness Family (below), launched earlier this month coincide for the Iowa caucus. It features facts about two of the most prominent players in this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton
“[The program is] an innovative way for [creators] to leverage the resources of Maker to create original franchises for their existing audiences while taking some new and exciting risks,” said Gabriel Lewis, EVP of development and studios at Maker Studios, in a statement. “The program allows for digital video execution at scale without sacrificing each creator’s individual voice. We’re excited for everyone to see what we’ve been working on.”