Digital media veteran Larry Tanz named president of Vuguru
Tanz brings a long list of Internet and mainstream media credits to the studio, which is best known for its Web hits "Prom Queen" and "The All-For-Nots." As the former president and chief executive of LivePlanet Inc., the venture started by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, he produced numerous film, television and new media projects -- including the Emmy-nominated "Project Greenlight."
"We were obviously looking for somebody who was an intelligent and charismatic leader -- all those things you'd want in a president." said Eisner. "We also wanted somebody who had experience in this space."
The appointment follows an an investment from Rogers Media, a division of the Canadian communications and media giant, as a result of which Vuguru became a separate company. Previously, it operated inside of Eisner's Tornante Co.
Tanz said he has spent much of his career developing content that could move across multiple distribution platforms. With Project Greenlight, aspiring filmmakers submitted their scripts to an online contest for a shot at making his or her own film. The process was chronicled on HBO. In his most recent position as president of Agility Studios, he helped secure financing for new media projects such as "Legion of Extraordinary Dancers," a scripted series about dance.
The new president will try to figure out what business model makes sense for online video, which may entail some mix of licensing fees paid by distributors, sponsorships or advertising. Rogers Communications Inc., which operates cable television service, a mobile phone network and Internet access, will provide broad distribution for the content.
"This partner is going to roll out content across all their platforms, to an audience that’s one of the most voracious consumers of this type of content," Tanz said. "We’re going to learn a lot."
--Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photo of Larry Tanz, courtesy of Vuguru