NewFronts: PopSugar Studios President Talks 'Seriously Distracted' Renewal, New Web Series (Exclusive)
"Our media brands come to life when they are expressed in video, and our audience is telling us that's what they want," says David Grant.
A year after unveiling its first comedy, lifestyle website PopSugar is returning to the Digital Content NewFronts in New York on April 30 with an expanded slate of scripted fare.
PopSugar Studios president David Grant says the brand's first series, comedy Seriously Distracted starring Amy Sedaris, had millions of views across its eight-episode first season, enough for the company to bring it back for a slightly retooled second season, which will feature a new character as the boss of the New York publicity firm at the center of the story.
"The series exceeded our expectations," says Grant. "It had really great talent, so I think the word has gotten out that doing a series with us and our partners is a good experience. We're looking to cast the (boss) role with someone of prominence and we're in discussions with a number of interesting talent. There are multiple people vying for the role."
PopSugar, which has 75 million global monthly unique visitors, is also re-teaming with Seriously Distracted producer Above Average, the online comedy network from Lorne Michael's Broadway Video, for its second scripted series. Created by Seriously Distracted writer Celeste Ballard, The Bachelorette Diaries will tell the story of a single woman faced with a slew of expensive, onerous bachelorette parties for her soon-to-be married friends. Grants says each episode will center around a party, which will be stunt cast.
"The comedy business targeted to female millennials is of interest to us," Grant explains. "But first and foremost, we think about what content resonates with our audience. We know our audience is very interested in this subject matter and we know they like to laugh."
PopSugar will also unveil docuseries Hannahgram starring DJ and model Hannah Bronfman that will explore new trends in style, health, fitness and food that will uncover what's behind these fads and what they mean. Along the way, viewers will learn more about the life of this socialite.
PopSugar was founded as an entertainment news and lifestyle company in 2006 by husband-wife team Brian Sugar and Lisa Sugar. Grant joined in 2009 and has helped to build out the company's video strategy, opening studios in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York that produce its slate of daily video clips. The company's expanding slate of original series will be integrated into this existing lineup of instructional and news-focused videos and will premiere throughout the year.
Grant says the company is placing an emphasis on its multi-platform video strategy and has begun to optimize each show specifically for platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. In addition, daily news series PopSugar Rush, which will premiere May 1 with short, two-minute clips about trending topics, will stream exclusively on the company's Facebook page before appearing on the PopSugar website or YouTube channel.
"The advent of Facebook has been great for us," says Grant. "Now there are two platforms — three including our website — on which video can be consumed." Video, he continues, has become central to the company's content strategy. "Our media brands come to life when they are expressed in video and our audiences are telling us that's what they want."