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NEW YORK — Starz Digital Media, the digital and on-demand distribution arm of Starz Media, has renewed and expanded its relationship with movie and TV parody Web series How It Should Have Ended and will help extend the franchise into the video game genre.
Under the Starz renewal for what the firms call a second season, HISHE will expand from 12 episodes to 18 episodes a year.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Meanwhile, new online series How It Should Have Ended: Video Games will provide parodies of plots and characters of popular games and will be produced and distributed under a limited exclusive distribution arrangement with Machinima.com, the online video entertainment network for video gamers.
The new series launches Tuesday with How It Should Have Ended: Halo, which spoofs the popular sci-fi game franchise’s prequel Halo: Reach.
The HISHE: Video Games episodes will have an exclusive five-week online run across Machinima.com’s content network before appearing on the HISHE homepage and HISHE’s YouTube channel.
Starz Media is part of Liberty Media’s Starz Llc. and mainly includes Anchor Bay Entertainment and the Starz Digital Media arm.
HISHE, which started its relationship with Starz in 2009, is an advertising-supported animated series of online video spoofs that parody the endings of iconic films and TV series.
“How It Should Have Ended has been a real success story for Starz Digital Media, reaching millions of viewers each month,” said Marc DeBevoise, Starz Media’s senior vp digital media, business development and strategy and lead executive at Starz Digital Media. “For our digital business, it’s a nice show that has done incredibly well and [has reached] about 100 million views on its YouTube channel. How It Should Have Ended is profitable, and we fully expect it to make money for all involved” under the new deals.
“Our intentions are not to try and grow a television series out of it. Our intentions are to have a very successful Web series,” DeBevoise also told The Hollywood Reporter. “We are increasing our investment in the series [with the extension and expansion and the new series] and hopefully the revenue it generates for us.”
“Our partnership with Starz has allowed us the freedom to focus on developing great content for our fans while giving us the platform to reach a larger, global audience,” said HISHE co-creator Daniel Baxter.
Machinima.com attracts more than 50 million monthly unique users and more than 500 million monthly video views, according to the
companies. Machinima will provide its game expertise in creating story lines and scripts for the new gaming-focused series and promote it to its audience.
“Our ability to activate significant audience engagement around content we know will resonate with video gamers makes this partnership a natural fit,” said Sanjay Sharma, Machinima’s senior vp strategy and business development, who explained that the company sees itself as a lifestyle brand a la MTV for the gaming generation, particularly males 18-49.
He added that the new HISHE gaming series fits in with a recent content push. “We’ve started to release a lot of original content – over 20 original shows that come out every week or more often, plus long-form shows [that are] in development.” For example, Machinima previously launched Bite Me — The Gamer’s Zombie Apocalypse Series with millions of views.
HISHE’s first webisode was a spoof on The Matrix. The HISHE team has created more than 30 videos and approximately 100 million views to date. Since partnering with Starz Digital Media, it has produced a new episode each month, including ones spoofing Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, Twilight and Lost.
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