Turner Broadcasting System has taken a minority stake in Will Ferrell’s comedy web portal Funny or Die (FoD).
The deal sees Time Warner-owned cablenets TBS and Adult Swim work together with FoD and on a multi-platform comedy strategy, including content creation and distribution across television and mobile devices.
Turner’s digital sales team will serve as the exclusive seller of advertising opportunities with FoD.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed but Turner has reportedly taken a 10% equity stake.
“We’re investing in FoD because we can take their great content and give it a wider audience through the incredible reach of TBS,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “TBS and Funny Or Die will give people a laugh anywhere, anytime and on any device.”
Comedian and actor Will Ferrell launched FoD in 2007 alongside writer and director Adam McKay, as an offshoot of the pair’s prodco Gary Sanchez Productions. The website, funnyordie.com, quickly attracted huge attention for its comedy shorts and celebrity appearances.
In 2010, TBS commissioned a pilot based on an FoD sketch, called Undercover Karaoke. The Turner deal, however, will not affect FoD’s agreements with other networks. The firm currently produces Billy on the Street for Fuse and has various projects in development with HBO, FoD CEO Dick Glover told C21 recently.
Efforts in 2010 between FoD, UK prodco Hat Trick and Little Britian stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, to expand the FoD brand into the UK were cut short as a result of financial troubles.
Continuing its multi-platform strategy, TBS this week also partnered with DumbDumb, the prodco set up by Arrested Development actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. The agreement means TBS will air DumbDumb produced ads in between its programming and will also host the ads on its websites.
News of Turner’s investment in FoD comes after another established media heavyweight Discovery Communications acquired online video start-up Revision3 earlier this month.