Marriott opens its own studio to get serious about original content marketing

Marriott has announced the formation of a new global content studio—comprised of content development, production and distribution teams—dedicated to publishing, distributing and sharing digital and filmed content across film, television, online, digital and print distribution platforms. To further the company’s focus on next-generation travelers and drive new business, the studio embraces a mission to own original content marketing as both a travel company and a worldwide community.

“The global content studio represents a bold step forward for Marriott, both in our industry and among leading brands,” said Karin Timpone, Marriott’s global marketing officer. “The purpose is to create and establish original content as a key component of the company’s global marketing strategy. The studio will consist of three groups: a Creative agency, Entertainment and Live – all focused on developing multi-platform content to engage consumers across all screens and formats worldwide.”

The Creative group oversees campaign, project, and initiative level creative and snackable travel lifestyle related content. The Entertainment team leads episodic story-driven content. The “always on” Live team will be responsible for publishing real time creative and content around trending topics, conversations, and events on social media.

Leading the studio is David Beebe, vice president, creative + content marketing, global marketing, who joined Marriott from Disney-ABC Television Group. “Rather than talk at consumers, we’re shifting to speaking with them using attention-grabbing content that adds value to consumers’ lives by providing them with information and entertainment at the right time and in the right context,” said Beebe. “While content is just part of the overall travel experience we provide, we believe Marriott can become the world’s leading publisher of travel lifestyle content for the next generation. Our goal is to produce engaging content that builds communities of people passionate about travel that will drive commerce.”

The studio comes to market with significant talent and project development deals to claim its position as a first-mover within the hotel industry in original content across all distribution platforms. These deals include film entertainment, television and digital and online programming.

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Talent

Sonia Gil (Sonia’s Travels) is an entrepreneur and travel vlogger. A speaker of seven languages, she is co-founder of digital language learning company Fluenz, where she leads the creation of all learning content. Sonia is the host and co-creator of Sonia’s Travels, which airs weekly on YouTube and Yahoo Screen. She also stars in the Ulive travel series Almost Free.

Substance Over Hype is a group known for fusing the world’s best in movement and music and is led by its creators Daniel “Malakai” Cabrera and William Spencer.  The group has signed on to produce an original short film: “Two Bellmen.”

What’s Trending with Shira Lazar is the Primetime Emmy-nominated center of the online universe, bringing audiences the hottest videos, trends, and personalities on YouTube and social media every day. Join co-founder Shira Lazar and the biggest online stars everyday as they entertain and inform audiences on every platform with the trends that has the world buzzing.

Taryn Southern is a musical comedian, actress, and content creator, with more than 250 million views across the web. An early pioneer of digital media, Taryn has sold two TV shows based on digital properties, to DirecTV and MTV, and has appeared on shows like New Girl, Guys with Kids, Rules of Engagement, Last Man Standing, and The League. She’s also a frequent host for red carpet award shows and could be seen as a correspondent for VH1, TV Guide, “The X Factor” on FOX, and most recently, Discovery Channel.

Projects

Two Bellmen is an action-comedy about a happy-go-lucky bellman and his hapless counterpart, who proves their company loyalty when the JW Marriott LA LIVE comes under siege by “The Purple Panthers,” the most notorious smash and grab art thieves of our time. Revealing a background in combat and a death-defying fearlessness, the bellmen try to stop the thieves, protect the guests, and save the art. The film will be directed by Daniel “Malakai” Cabrera and stars William Spencer, Caine Sinclair, and other amazing talents from Substance Over Hype. It will also showcase parkour, stunts, dance, and martial arts as story telling devices.

The Navigator Live, a Renaissance Hotels TV series already in distribution on AXS TV, produced in partnership with AEG. The series combines live performances by groundbreaking indie music artists discovering new experiences on the road including new and unusual restaurants, offbeat attractions, neighborhoods and travel adventures. Groups featured include Walk The Moon, DJ Cassidy, LaRoux and Capital Cities.  The first episode aired September 17 with GroupLove https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWi8j0Eh6KI&list=UUM6K1B2H4kUrp4hRKlEAzZQ.

Marriott Rewards’ Year of Surprises isa series of 12 webisodes. Premiering in October 2014, the first episode will be hosted by basketball star Jordan Farmar.

The studio will leverage numerous delivery platforms, ranging from Marriott.com, which is the seventh-largest online retail website*; Marriott Mobile; owned social meeting channels; Marriott Rewards, which boasts 45 million members; and in-room television programming.

*Source: Rankings of top internet websites are from Internet Retailer (Top 500 Guide, 2009 edition), various public earnings reports and Marriott estimates.

About David Beebe:  David Beebe is an apt choice to lead Marriott International’s content studio initiative. An Emmy winning executive and producer, Beebe most recently partnered with Phil Rosenthal as an EP on “Lucky Bastard” a new travel show set to premiere on PBS.  Beebe partnered with America’s Funniest Home Videos creator Vin Di Bona where he developed original series including “Ultimate Proposal” and “Stunt Nation” on Yahoo.com and digital brands including “Petsami,” and “Toddletable” on YouTube.

Prior to that, he was the founding executive and Vice President of the Disney-ABC Television Group Digital Studio, where he led all creative and content development for short-form programming live programming on across digital platforms. Beebe was recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2011 for leading the digital video group that produced the Emmy®-winning 83rd Oscars® Digital Experience and in 2008 for Product Managing the Emmy-winning Full Episode Player for ABC.com. Beebe also developed DVD content for Showtime and led content for DIRECTV.com. He started his career in the United States Coast Guard. Coming to Marriott, he joins his former Disney ABC colleague Karin Timpone, the company’s Global Marketing Officer.

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