Performance-based video distribution network Alphabird has launched an original content development unit, led by a trio of executives from Endemol’s digital entertainment production team.

The unit will be based in Alphabird’s newly opened facility in Beverly Hills, Calif., and will be responsible for the development and production of all original branded programming across the Alphabird Editorial Network.

Its leadership team includes: head of digital development and distribution Russell Naftal; head of digital production Johnny McMahon; and head of integrated partnerships and marketing Kelli Usher.

Alphabird distributes videos across premium publishers, portals and select other sites using its Flight technology platform, which puts videos in the page rather than in banners. According to the company, this results in higher levels of engagement, brand recall and offline intent.

Among the projects Naftal, McMahon and Usher worked on while at Endemol are TV series like Wipeout, Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, in addition to online programs incluing MLB Fan Cave, Married on MySpace and James Hyde Steals the Show.

“By bringing aboard internationally renowned creative talent that has earned several industry awards, combined with the guaranteed viewership of millions of people around the world, we’re enhancing our capabilities to not only deliver the largest audiences to online video, we now have the firepower to develop and produce that content in-house,” said Chase Norlin, Alphabird CEO.

Related links:

Alphabird – official site

Variety – Endemol vets top new Alphabird division