Rather than let Cambio continue its slide into oblivion, partners AOL, talent management company The Jonas Group and brand strategy specialists MGX Lab have decided to inject the site with new life in the form of top talent, original content, additional strategic deals and a budget commitment. Cambio, which is an online entertainment destination for teens and young adults, announced deals with Mark Burnett, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Dolphin Digital Media as part of a wide-ranging revitalization.
A central feature of the reborn Cambio is an exclusive content deal with Dolphin Digital Media that commits $10-12 million annually to finance four to six original scripted webisodic programs. The two companies said they will focus on original material from established screenwriters, actors, directors and producers. As part of the agreement, Cambio will hold exclusive rights to distribute the content in the United States.
First up will be Aim High from McG, Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, which debuts Oct. 18 after months of finding the right home for it. The six-episode series tells the “kick-ass” story of a highly trained teenage spy whose profession just might be less dangerous than trying to deal with high school and his love for another guy’s “wicked cool rocker chick” girlfriend. It stars heartthrobs Jackson Rathbone (who played Jasper Hale, a sparkly pale vampire in The Twilight Saga movie series) and Aimee Teegarden (the coach’s teenage daughter Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights), and comes with rich transmedia content elements.
McG is known for directing films like Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation and We Are Marshall, and for executive producing many television series including The O.C., Chuck, and Supernatural.
Also part of Cambio’s relaunch will be CliffsNotes Films, created through a new partnership between Mark Burnett and Coalition Films. This is a series of animated shorts based on the famous CliffsNotes Literature Guides which stay true to the information while adding irreverent humor.
Burnett has a slate of highly successful television programs to his name, including The Voice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, The Apprentice and Survivor.
The site’s regular programming features a daily entertainment show, breaking news, lots of live chats and other exclusive accent, plus additional content.
Cambio got off to a flying start in June 2010, leveraging its relationships with young talent like The Jonas Group clients Demi Lovato, Jordin Sparks and the Jonas Brothers to get access and content available nowhere else. It proved unable to maintain that momentum, however.
Adding to the reboot, gamification and community now play a much larger role than before. Enhanced social networking and interactive features allow users to share their profile, photos, videos and other interests, vying to get their Cambio profile featured as they collect points, badges, level-ups and share via Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, +1 and Stumble Upon.
“We’re excited to welcome all of our new partners to the Cambio family as we move into this new chapter of our brand,” said Nathan Coyle, general manager of Cambio. “We’re in great company. With Dolphin Digital Media, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Mark Burnett’s stellar reputations in providing quality entertainment content, we believe they’ll help catapult us to become the eminent destination for teens and young adults.”
Photo shows Jackson Rathbone as Nick Green in “Aim High”