Male-Focused Digital Media Firm Woven Expands Content Production With New Hire (Exclusive)

Anonymous Content veteran Ben Blank joins Woven as chief creative officer.

Online publisher Woven is expanding its video production capabilities with the appointment of industry veteran Ben Blank as its first chief creative officer. 

In his new role Blank is leading Woven Studio, the company's online video production arm, which creates branded campaigns that have generated more than 65 million views this year for clients including EA and Miller/Coors.  

"Ben really understands how to connect a brand's aspiration with the right content," Woven president Colin Digiaro tells THR

Prior to joining Woven, Blank co-founded Locksmith Content, a production company where he directed TV commercials, web films and branded content for clients that included American Express, Nike and Groupon. Blank also spent six years as a producer at Anonymous Content, working on brand commercials and short films.

Woven, co-founded in 2010 by CEO Scott Grimes, operates a network of male-centric websites, including BroBible and Total Frat Move. The Culver City-based firm has added to that portfolio with the acquisitions of art-focused online publisher Animal and entertainment news website Uproxx, which is built on a BuzzFeed-like model of creating content that is easily sharable. Today Woven reaches more than 85 million users each month and is the fourth largest entertainment property for men ages 18 to 34, according to comScore. 

The firm has also begun to develop content for brand partners including Boost Mobile, UFC and Sony, which hired Woven to create a website for the fictional college in the Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill comedy 22 Jump Street.

Branded video campaigns have become an increasingly important part of Woven's business in the last year, driving the company to create Woven Studio to work specifically with advertisers from concept development to final product. Woven now has production facilities in New York and Chicago and is building out a 4,000-square-foot studio in Culver City. 

"The idea is to really service our advertisers with content that is a direct match for their audience," says Digiaro, one of the co-founders of Myspace and a longtime digital media executive. "We're a full 360-degree media business now." 

Woven is also planning to utilize its increased production capabilities to dive into scripted content production with web originals, long- and short-form series and films. 

"Over the last six months we've really taken a big step to staff up the production and move beyond branded entertainment, which we're really good at, and look at original content," says Grimes. "We do think there's an opportunity there to get the Woven name more as a household name for content creation." 

Email:Natalie.Jarvey@THR.com
Twitter: @NatJarv

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