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Ex-Disney exec launches online TV channel

Prom Queen will be one of Vuguru's first shows

A top ex-Disney executive is making moves into online TV by launching a new station, Vuguru . The new channel will acquire and develop "slickly written, produced and acted web video", according to Reuters .

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, lead by his investment firm The Tornante Co. , will launch the channel in April. The station will kick off with teen-drama Prom Queen - a thriller set across 80 days with each installment lasting 90 seconds. Another show with a similar structure, Sam Has 7 Friends has also been bought by the web studio.

Securing advertising (its main source of revenue) has proved a challenge, as a new medium is often difficult to sell, according to writer-director Chris McCaleb of Big Fantastic - creator of Sam Has 7 Friends. He told Reuters, "It's very frightening for a large advertiser to say, 'Where are the viewer numbers?' And there aren't any numbers yet because it's brand new."

Regardless, Eisner is confident this won't be a problem. Vuguru will be supported by ads running before and after each show, and by product placement. He says it's partly based on trust.

Show me the money

"Vuguru will have certain standards," says Eisner. "Prom Queen will be PG 13 or less aggressive. Advertisers will know that this is not a place where they will be embarrassed."

The cost of "slickly written, produced and acted web video" remains shrouded, however, despite Prom Queen's example of short episodes. "It's not inexpensive," says Eisner. "Also, we're making up our own rules as we go along."

It's Eisner's belief that the internet's relationship with original TV can only prosper. "We'll be inundated with ideas," he says. "We won't have to look for them. They'll be looking for us."