Safran bows a digital offshoot


Peter Safran, founder of management and production firm the Safran Co., is set to launch a digital media company today that has a distribution deal with Microsoft's Xbox Live platform already in place.

Safran Digital Group's first slate of content will be available to Xbox users in the summer. The offerings will be available on the Microsoft product for an exclusive window, which will be negotiated on a project-by-project basis, before going out through other partners.

"We want to make sure that we have the right distribution channels in place," said Safran, CEO of the new company. "We had a very specific idea that we knew worked for a core audience. Xbox clearly has this exact same demographic."

The company plans to launch six shortform shows in comedy, horror and sci-fi genres. The content will be monetized via a combination of electronic sell-through and advertising.

Safran and company COO Jake Zim declined to provide specifics on the content, saying only that the talent was "significant" and speaks to Xbox's young-male demographic.

Safran, former president of Brillstein-Grey Management, recently produced Fox's "Meet the Spartans" and New Line's "Over Her Dead Body." He also exec produced Dimension's "Scary Movie" and is producing "Chilled in Miami," starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.

Zim was vp online at Fox Atomic, where he led digital marketing campaigns for "28 Weeks Later," "The Hills Have Eyes" and other films. He also worked on the launch team of Hulu, the NBC Universal/News Corp. online video venture.

Safran said his background in content creation and talent management along with Zim's distribution expertise will make for a powerful mixture. "Nobody has the combination that we have," Safran said. "The Xbox deal is validation and proof of that."

Microsoft launched the Xbox Live Marketplace for movies and TV in 2006, and it has content deals with MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Nickelodeon, Fox, Disney, New Line, Lionsgate, Miramax, MTV and Turner Broadcasting.

Safran Digital is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Safran Co.