Viacom is going to try to succeed where NBC’s Dotcomedy, HBO’s ThisJustIn and many others have failed. They’re relaunching Atom Films, which was supposed to be an aggregator of short indie film clips, as Atom.com, an aggregator of short comedy clips. The old site is supposed to disappear at 5 pm ET.
Viacom execs have a lengthy explanation about the shift, but it’s pretty straightforward: They bought Atom, along with Shockwave and Addicting Games, for $200 million in 2006, and besides providing them with exec talent — Atom co-founder Mika Salmi is president of digital for MTV Networks — Atom hasn’t done much. But comedy sites seem to do ok, or at least seem like they could, so they’ll try that. Atom.com is launching with four original series (including “Stickman Exodus,” pictured), and like dozens of other sites targeted at young dudes, is soliciting submissions. Each week users vote on new shorts and the top videos get promoted to “pro” status, qualify for a revenue-share deal, and get distribution through iTunes, AOL, Bebo, DailyMotion, Veoh and xBox Live. And, they may also get on TV: Comedy Central launched “Atom TV,” a half-hour series airing Monday nights at 2 a.m.
Like the old Atom Films, Atom.com will share a percentage of ad revenue with creators that achieve “pro” status. Theoretically, a viral video that gets 50% of Atom.com’s traffic would get 50% of the revenue paid to contributors. The site inherits 1.9 million monthly uniques from Atom Films, the company said. We hope for Atom’s sake, and for Break.com, Metacafe, Stupidvideos, Heavy.com, FunnyOrDie, Comedy.com, etc, that there are enough funny shorts and young, bored guys to go around.
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