Former Viacom exec launches digital video studio to ‘make great stuff’

Former Viacom exec launches digital video studio to ‘make great stuff’

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Almost a year ago, veteran MTV executive Van Toffler announced he was leaving Viacom after nearly three decades to pursue “the loud and insatiable part of my failed musician/poet soul that needs to purely make great stuff.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Toffler announced exactly how he plans to do that. He’s founding a digital video studio with Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T T, +1.49%  and the Chernin Group, and Floris Bauer, the former global head of strategy at Endemol. The exact ownership structure wasn’t disclosed.

The new studio is set up to cultivate the next generation of behind-the-camera talent for new digital platforms, in much the same way that the edgy netherworld of MTV VIA, +2.60% VIAB, +2.47%  in Mr. Toffler’s day fostered the careers of breakout writers and directors like Spike Jonze and David Fincher, he said.

“The notion is to sift and find those great people who tell things differently, who have a different visual approach, and marry them with talent, and elevate the kind of content that is made,” said Mr. Toffler, who will serve as the studio’s chief executive.

Gunpowder & Sky’s content will vary wildly in length. The studio is already working on projects including a four-minute animation series, a slate of digital-first horror movies, 45-second video clips featuring sports stars and a theatrical film.

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