November 11, 2006
Turner Super Deluxe a Promising Upcoming Venture for a Variety of Comedy Material

One interesting online development worth noting is a new venture by one of our partners here in the Convergence Culture Consortium, Turner Broadcasting. In the past two weeks, Turner has made headlines with its plans for a new broadband channel launched for comedy content, Super Deluxe. The project will be cross-platform, with plans to launch the content from the online broadband channel onto video-on-demand, mobile platforms (phones and portable players) and video game consoles. There are also plans to cross content from Super Deluxe into video sharing sites like MySpace and YouTube, although Turner promises to strictly monitor user-generated content on its site for potential copyright infringements.

Considering that this is one of the most ambitious broadband channel projects yet launched by a traditional cable company, I'm sure all eyes will be on Super Deluxe when it launches in January. It will join CNN Pipeline and GameTap, two other Turner broadband ventures.

The plan is to feature free content, supported by advertisers, with the site for Super Deluxe featuring content from both users and performers, as well as advertisers. The plan is for the commercials to go along with the theme of the broadband network, so that commercials--while clearly labeled as such--can also double as comedy content as well.

Every comedian on the site will have their own branded areas, and there will be substantial room for user-generated content and amateur performances. The plan is to feature both animated and live action humor with an emphasis on the types of attitude-laced, push-the-envelope humor that won't be appearing on TBS.

In Andrew Wallenstein's Hollywood Reporter article on the venture, he writes that Super Deluxe "reflects the growing interest of established content outlets in alternative platforms that are siphoning an increasing flow of advertising dollars from traditional media, particularly online, where younger viewers are flocking to everywhere from indie upstarts like CollegeHumor to Comedy Central's broadband home, MotherLode" (sic). (Actually, Comedy Central's site is MotherLoad, while MotherLode streamlines business transactions.) He writes that the site will include "original shortform videos laced with edgy humor from professional comics and ambitious amateurs alike."

Super Deluxe's target demographic will be men 18-34.

Wallenstein points out that the lack of linearity for channels like this sets them apart from the traditional Turner offerings, since there will not be a comedy "line-up" with shows coming on at 5 minutes past the hour (which was the TBS stable, to get separate listings in TV Guide for those who don't remember that marketing ploy). He writes, "Super Deluxe's online incarnation will be equipped with community tools that enable users to establish profiles, post videos and interact. The Web site collapses the traditional distinction -- and distance -- between performers and consumers, putting user-generated content and original output from notable comedians side by side."

Further, Digital Trends News writes, "Super Deluxe also aims to be a social hangout, offering community tools which enable fans to interact with the comedy artists, form groups, send messages, express their own senses of humor, and create their own profiles, complete with user-generated video and content."

Mark Walsh with MediaPost calls Super Deluxe an "ambitious effort, encompassing a variety of original content ranging from episodic shows to short films to stand-up routines and sketches."

Super Deluxe is a more ambitious effort, encompassing a variety of original content ranging from episodic shows to short films to stand-up routines and sketches.
The initial press from the company emphasized that this new online comedy channel is not considered an extension of TBS as DramaVision is to TNT, as there will be an online TBS platform launched in 2007, most likely.

However, SuperDeluxe could be a launching pad for comedy projects that could later appear on TBS or Adult Swim, if it proves to be extremely popular on Super Deluxe.

I have a feeling this is a project we'll be following more in the future here, and I've been fortunate enough to interact a little bit with a member of the Super Deluxe team. I know that we at C3 are looking forward to seeing more projects like this in the coming months from across the cable spectrum and anxiously await finding out if Super Deluxe lives up to the hype that has been surrounding it in the past couple of weeks.

One comedian, Mark Sasahara, has written that he is part of Super Deluxe (although he apparently gave away too much information, judging from this post that he had to make "more generic").

Bloggers like Daniel Davenport are already drawing on the blogosphere--and collective intelligence--to start to piece together who the Super Deluxe team is at Turner.