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TV Studio Bento Box Launches Mobile- and VR-Focused Digital Division

As millennials abandon TV viewing and gravitate to mobile and online consumption, traditional TV studios are scrambling to adapt to the viewing habits of young viewers. Bento Box Entertainment, the Los Angeles-headquartered TV animation studio that makes shows like Bob’s Burgers and Bordertown, announced the launch of a new digital unit last Thursday.

Bento Box Digital Studios will develop and produce content specifically for consumption on mobile and digital platforms, including but not limited to YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, Snapchat, Instagram, as well as VOD and live-streaming channels. The content will be specifically geared to an 18- to 34-year-old “digital-native, mobile-driven” demo.

Additionally, Bento’s new digital arm announced an exclusive partnership with virtual reality company Littlstar to produce, curate and distribute immersive animated VR content.

Here are the official descriptions of Bento Box Digital Studio’s first greenlit original content slate for 2016:

  • Swoozie’s Adorably Dead, an original animated comedy created by Swoozie, a comedian, animator and former professional gamer. As one of YouTube’s top personalities and creators, he has amassed over 3.8 million subscribers and nearly half a billion views.
  • The Pandas, an animated comedy series (13×22 minute episodes). From the Denmark creators Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler (Wumo), this irreverent, animated family comedy is full of hard jokes, whimsical wonder, biting satire and just the right amount of heart, with a cast of today’s top social influencers and voiceover actors.
  • The Damn Show, the revival of the cult sensation from the creators of Brickleberry, Waco O’Guin, and Roger Black. This in-your-face sketch comedy weekly series will bring you a mash-up of original live action/animated hybrid content, as well as distribution of the original Damn Show episodes currently available for purchase at damnshow.com.
  • Glove & Boots, from creators Damien Eckhardt-Jacobi and Vincent Bova, this zany but kid-friendly weekly puppet series with more than 52 million+ views on YouTube will feature weekly original and library content.

At least one of the series, The Pandas (pictured at top), will be produced at Toronto-based Bento Box Canada, a new venture that launched last fall as a partnership between Bento Box and Corus Entertainment, the latter of which also owns Teletoon network, Toon Boom animation software, and Nelvana studio.

Bento’s VR partnership with Littlstar is a first for a 2D animation studio. The two companies plan to launch a stand-alone app that uses Littlstar’s VR technology, and Bento will produce original content for the partnership as well as acquire content from third-party creators.

“This entry into VR will help our company to be an even stronger partner for the most creative people in animation, opening the door to immersive, 360-degree storytelling that is not only a potential game-changer but is incredibly fun to experience and experiment with,” said Bento Box co-founder Joel Kuwahara, who was also a production exec at Icebox.com during the short-lived Internet animation boom of the late-’90s and early-2000s.

Further, Kuwahara said that Littlstar was an attractive partner because of their focus on making VR available on mobile platforms, which is “an ideal entry point to VR for creators and consumers.”

The Littlstar network, which went through the Disney Accelerator startup mentorship program, current has partnerships with Fusion TV, Legend 3D, and social star Michelle Phan.

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  • Mashed Potato

    The post image is of Pandaerne which ran some years ago (and if simply dubbed all the gags will be dated).

    Producing implies it’s an all-new season?