New Australian Comedy Central website seeks brands to partner on ‘edgy’ comedy content


The new site will feature clips from Comedy Central show South Park

Media giant Viacom is looking for brand partners willing to take risks to tell their stories to help create more content from local comedians for its newly launched Comedy Central Australia website.

The site will feature satirical editorial by comedian Cyrus Bezyan who has been hired as digital editor and specially created short-form content from Australian comedy talent, as well as clips of some international content including South Park and Inside Amy Schumer.

However Simon Bates, head of MTV & Comedy Central, Australia & New Zealand, told Mumbrella they were also looking for brand partner bold enough to spread their message through more edgy comedy, saying there was very little of it happening in Australia currently.

“We hope to work with that pool of creative comedic talent to come up with brand integrated videos with them too,” he said. “Absolutely we hope to do some really edgy work with brands to take a risk and tell their brand story. I don’t think anyone’s doing that particularly well in Australia at the moment.”

Asked what sort of brands he thought would be a good fit he pointed to the likes of Fosters in the UK who had used comedy as content marketing saying: “Beer brands that are willing to take a risk and knowing their demo of younger blokes respond well to comedy.”comedy central logo

The site will primarily be monetised through display and pre-roll ads on the video content, with sales house MCN handling the inventory.

Bates said they had decided to launch the site after seeing an increase in people searching for its content online, and in part as a way of fighting back against piracy.

'Edgy content': Bates

‘Edgy content’: Bates

He said: “Comedy Central content is available currently in premium places like the Comedy Channel and places like Stan, and there has been an increase in people searching online for our content and sometimes that has taken the form of piracy.

“But often it’s taken the form of them going to our other international websites – we’ve had huge amounts of traffic from Australia to our US site. There’s certainly been a need there online for that community to get more access to our content, and absolutely our intention is this site will serve our need and to get access to the long-form premium stuff you need to be paying a subscription.”

The site is set to have a largely Australian focus, with Bezyan commissioned to write satirical pieces as well as help find local talent to create new content for the site, something Bates said was missing in the local market.

“There’s not many routes to promote yourself and share your content, if you’re a talented comedian how do you share your work?” he added. “So we’ve done a bit of research and the key thing is hiring Cyrus who is a comedian and is very well connected into the community and we’ve been meeting with a bunch of stand up comedians.

“It’s a really creative, innovative scene and they’ve just been making content and putting it on Youtube and they’re not getting the rewards they deserve or need. Our intention is to help nurture that talent and certainly pay for content for them.

“As it’s digital the intention will be short form initially and we will be commissioning multiple comedy acts and getting them to make content for us. If that turns out well the intention will be to get that in front of our international colleagues and turn that into longer form.”

He said there would be potential to partner with new players such as streaming service Stan – which has been creating its own content including comedy show No Activity – to create new shows and content, adding promotion will be “pretty organic”, with a reliance of people picking up the Comedy Central brand through search, as well as leveraging the three million followers MTV has on social media.

On what to expect from editorial on the site he said: “Cyrus is a full-time writer – that will be satire, weird commentary and being broader than the Australian comedy scene. It should be your daily dose of funny and weird Comedy Central stuff in addition to the international stuff and enable us to be reactive to what’s happening here and give a local flavour.

“Our intention is we’ll grow that from our first employee and have more in the team. We’ve found that with MTV and the content skew there.”

Alex Hayes

Disclosure: Comedy Central Australia is currently advertising with Mumbrella


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