Ex-Disney chief launches Web video company

Michael Eisner's Vuguru.com aims to produce and distribute high-quality Web video series, starting with Prom Queen.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner has announced his next endeavor: Vuguru, a new independent studio for the production and distribution of online video content.

Vuguru, officially a project of Eisner's investment firm Tornante, debuted Monday along with its first production and set of sponsors. According to a statement from the new company, Vuguru aims to focus on "high-quality, story-driven content for the Internet" on a par with professional television and cinema productions.

The inaugural Vuguru series, a mystery drama called Prom Queen, will release the first of its 80 episodes on April 2. The 90-second clips, aimed at a tech-savvy teen audience, have been produced in conjunction with Web video company Big Fantastic--best known as the team behind the video podcast Sam Has 7 Friends. Among Prom Queen's sponsors is the magazine-turned-webzine Elle Girl, which stopped print publication last year to focus on online and mobile distribution.

Vuguru productions like Prom Queen will not be limited to a single platform. In addition to the production's Web site, the series will be accessible through sponsor Elle Girl's Web site and will be hosted by the Web video platform Veoh Networks--Eisner sits on Veoh's board of directors, and Tornante holds an ownership stake in the San Diego, Calif.-based start-up. Despite this close connection to Veoh, Vuguru has said that Prom Queen will also be available on Web video powerhouse YouTube.

There are also plans to distribute the series on handheld devices and in an unspecified living room-friendly format.