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Yahoo! Claims To Be “5th Network,” Will Premiere Film by CSI Creator

Published on March 21, 2012

This is possibly the strangest mashup collaboration for original programming yet—of a TV producer, search engine provider, and an online security company. 

Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and its New York and Miami spin-offs) and his production company Dare to Pass, and Yahoo! have announced that casting and production will begin on “Cybergeddon,” a “groundbreaking motion picture event which will bring to life the growing threat of cybercrime.” Zuiker has engaged Norton by Symantec to leverage its technical credibility and security insights to help inform and guide the narrative.

As for Yahoo!, “We’ve got eight out of 10 people online touching,” claimed Yahoo’s VP of  originals & video programming Erin McPherson. She was speaking at the 2012 TV Summit earlier this week, in a new-media panel discussion (reported via MediaBistro). “We call ourselves the ‘fifth network’but we’re TV on steroids. We’re creating a TV consumer experience but adding social and mobile.”

"’Cybergeddon’ is the evolution of the crime genre,” says Zuiker. “Through an invaluable partnership with Norton and embracing the forward-thinking vision of Dolphin Entertainment [a key financier for the project], ‘Cybergeddon’ will be a motion picture event released through Yahoo!’s global online distribution. Instead of opening 'wide' at 5000 screens, ‘Cybergeddon’ has the potential to premiere on 50 million online screens all over the world at the same time. This global distribution model is the future of storytelling with unprecedented scale."

“Cybergeddon” will launch globally, first on Yahoo! this Fall, as a series of installments to roll out sequentially. “Cybergeddon” will engage Yahoo!’s worldwide audience of 700 million unique visitors, through an immersive storytelling, social media and gaming experience.

Yahoo! claims to have 21 out of the top 25 most-watched online series, and 61 million unique visitors per month, citing comScore data. Yahoo! has made strides in original programming by teaming up with what it calls “world-class storytellers” starting with “Electric City,” its first original scripted series announcement earlier this year and most recently the roll out of a new comedy slate.The channel debuted February 23 on Yahoo! Stream, the company’s streaming media platform. First among its advertisers was Progressive Insurance, with its comedic ads starring “Flo.” 

“When you think about what HBO did for television and what Netflix did for video rentals, they were trailblazers of their time," said Dolphin Digital Studios CEO, Bill O’Dowd. “By bringing together a group of visionaries such as Anthony, Yahoo!, Dolphin, CAA and Norton, you can expect that ‘Cybergeddon’ is going to break new ground for how consumers experience entertainment around the world and across multiple platforms.”

Throughout the creative process, Zuiker engaged Norton by Symantec and its team of experts to inspire, guide and inform some of the technical aspects of cybercrime, including its investigation and prosecution, and to provide real-world insights into how people can protect themselves from digital threats.