MTV Networks had entered into an agreement with Atom Entertainment to acquire the company, along with Shockwave and AddictingGames, for $200 million on August 10, 2006. Now, two years after acquiring it, MTV Networks has transformed Atom Films into Atom.com, an aggregator of short comedy clips which is a sister site to its Comedy Central network dedicated to short-form, Web-based comedy.
Viacom-owned MTV Networks executives held a press conference in New York on Thursday to commence the new site, which Executive Vice President of Digital Media Erik Flannigan described as “our punk-rock label…where you’re purposely encouraging development that’s supposed to (expletive) with the system and break down boundaries.”
Atom.com is launching four original series (including “Stickman Exodus,” pictured) and like dozens of other sites targeted at young dudes, is soliciting submissions. Each week, users vote on new shots and the top videos get promoted to “pro” status, qualify for a revenue-share deal and get distribution through iTunes, AOL, Bebo, DailyMotion, Veoh and Xbox Live. What more, they may also get on TV: Comedy Central launched “Atom TV”, a half-hour series airing Monday nights at 2 a.m.
Atom TV is “jukebox-style, proudly low-budget (and) super-late-night,” according to Scott Roesch, General Manager of Atom.com. Eventually, Atom.com will gradually transform into video-on-demand cable television, where Atom Films had a presence in its early days. This is likely to happen in mid-July or August.
Online comedy sites have become very common but Scott Roesch believes that Atom.com is lifted above its competitors because of the connection with Comedy Central.
Atom.com now has more than 20,000 videos in its library already and its predecessor, AtomFilms.com, pulled in more than 1.9 million unique visitors monthly which, executives say, is more than FunnyOrDie, SuperDeluxe and The Onion combined. Built on Viacom’s Flux social platform, Atom.com also aims to be a community site of sorts.
Viacom can only hope there enough resources that are capable of tickling the funny bones of young guns (since the maximum viewers belong to the age group 18-35).