Spike.com loads up on originals in relaunch

MTV Networks unveiling new site Friday

MTV Networks is relaunching Spike.com on Friday, stocked with online-only original programming from content providers including Playboy Enterprises.

The online arm of Spike TV also will be supplemented with a high-resolution full-episode player that allows viewing of the channel's TV series, as well as social networking.

Erik Flannigan, executive vp digital media at MTVN Entertainment Group, is looking to make Spike.com the premier online destination for men 18-34 beyond sports-oriented sites. The trick is to wrap all the new features together into an environment that encourages more than the "drive-through window" mentality that governs much content snacking online.

"Video is the social currency for young men," he said. "But with so much video online, the audience doesn't really differentiate who provided it."

In addition to a development deal with Playboy, Spike.com will have exclusive content contributions from YouTube sensation the Angry Video Game Nerd, as well as webisodes of "The Crew," "MMA Girls" and a blog from UFC star Evan Tanner.

While there is no shortage of Web sites vying for young males, including Break.com and Heavy.com, Flannigan noted that MTVN's ability to cross-sell its sites with TV properties is a huge advantage in the advertising marketplace. "The ability to sell up with the network is such a leg up from a revenue perspective," he said.

The relaunch of Spike.com also marks the full absorption of the iFilm.com brand, which as of January is no longer an active URL. Last year, MTVN combined Spike.com with iFilm, which MTVN acquired in 2005.