Get to Know Ovrture: Q&A with Exec Ryan Weaver
Ovrture is a full service studio that specializes in digital/mobile-first audio and video content. Ovrture creates and distributes media for digital platforms where their audience enjoys spending their time. The full service content company prides itself on honoring their partners’ creative visions by making premium content that engages the online community, working with brands, celebrity/influencer talent, social platforms and digital content distributors. Brand Storytelling caught up with Ryan Weaver, Head of Business Development at Ovrture, to learn more about the company and the kind of brand work Ovrture is creating:
How did Ovrture get its start? What does the initial interaction with a brand look like at Ovrture? How do navigate pre-production of what will ultimately become another entities’ creative? Ovrture's start and success is rooted in its parent studio, 44 Blue (A Red Arrow Studios Company). 44 Blue is a creative and production entity that has been in business, with multiple active television shows every year, for over thirty-five years. To have this type of staying-power, 44 Blue has constantly responded to marketplace changes and adapted as consumption and execution practices have evolved. As the digital and brand studio within 44 Blue, Ovrture represents a strategic and calculated effort to stay ahead of the curve, identify new partners and build relationships with emerging platforms/talent/technologies to expand the full studio’s wealth of creative services. Though Ovrture's aesthetic and systems may differ from 44 Blue's, we’re a strong, driven team working to honor 44 Blue’s proven legacy as a trusted content partner by focusing on optimizing content for digital/mobile-first distribution and creating rad projects for brands and emerging platforms. We love working with brands. It can feel like a different game, but it's also one we find very exciting and creatively fulfilling. As many brands' strategies iterate to focus on creating original content that re-enforces the ethos of their company or helps retain eyeballs to their platform, we're a logical partner to reach out to and begin solving for a content play that is both on-brand and... just bomb content. That said, we also have done a few commercials and one-off marketing plays for our brand partners, which all have performed quite well. Equal Not Loose with Bumble, A Place Called Home for Google/Pixel 3 and Hollywood Medium x Gigi Gorgeous 360 are nice examples of these types of projects. All that to say, we're at our best when we're dealing with a partner who has a vision for what they want to say and who they want to reach. We're simply the creative, production and executive solution for bringing that vision to life. If a project requires a heavier creative lift in the generation campaign ideas, we’re more than happy to supply content ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Regardless of where we start in the creative process with a brand, the beginning of our relationship is about understanding who they are, what they want to say and how best to reach their desired audience. Pre-production with a brand is an interesting topic. As abstract conversations begin to take form, it's important that communication is strong and an aesthetic/story are created that prove to the brand that we understand who they are and they can trust us. We like to take chances at this stage to push the range of options and land on a vibe that will work best for the brand. The sooner we can identify the look and vibe that gels with the brand's identity, the sharper the execution process will be and the more effective the ROI will be.
It seems a lot of your brand work puts big talent (like Priyanka Chopra, the Wahlbergs, or The Rock, to name a few) at the center. Does that influence the narratives you help to shape? How? Yeah, we've been fortunate enough to work with the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Mark Wahlberg and Chloe Grace Moretz, among others. In candor, this can in large part be attributed to the cool brands we’re lucky enough to service and phenomenal work of our parent company, 44 Blue, in building relationships with industry leading talent. When Ovrture gets the chance to collaborate with leading creatives like those, we are extremely grateful and jump at the opportunity. As to how they inform the creative process, the personal brands of public figure and celebrities are massive and directly available to consumers.
Their brands also have their own values and feel. Finding synergies between the celebrity and the brand/client is a chance to not only increase the reach of a project but to strengthen the overall message in a very meaningful way. I may be off on this, but it seems neither the celebrity nor the brand’s ethos will overshadow one another. They have to work in harmony - finding the sweet spot between what the brand and the individual stand for is a really fun process, creates an amazing product and allows for all parties to feel truly invested.
Speaking of work with celebrity talent at the center, your new series “Celebrity Watchlist” is in distribution with partner IMDb. Can you tell us more about that? Of course. Love IMDb and we're stoked to be one of the first production companies they're working with to create premium original content for the platform. The conceit of Celebrity Watchlist is nicely simple, actionable and shareable. Similar to what platforms like Spotify and Postmates are doing with "curated playlists," Celebrity Watchlist is an interview series where celebrities and tastemakers layout the media that they are most excited to consume or that they highly recommend. A pretty organic fit for IMDB and their consumers. It's a light, zany show that is engaging to watch and gives viewers the chance to see tastemakers in a casual, relatable light. So far, we’ve done episode with Howie Mandel, Justin Theroux, Chloe Grace Moretz and a special with several cast members from Captain Marvel. From a partnership perspective, the team at IMDb has been great to work with and, as a brand, is open to creating some rad content. Would love to be doing more with them.
What’s next on the horizon for Ovrture? 2018 was a great year for Ovrture that saw us launch several projects and expand our team. When looking at what's next, two key points come to mind. The first would be creating more content for brands who are diving into scalable series or curious to play with new creative partners across marketing agendas. There are a ton of amazing brands out there, getting in front of them and finding ways to work together is key for our growth. Also on the video side, we're excited about platforms that are moving into or have the ability to host more interactive content, media hubs that would like original series to further engage consumers (like IMDb) and traditional media companies that are more aggressively moving into the digital arena.
Lots of opportunity to continue building strong partnerships and work some great folks. All that to say, we'd like to be doing more work like what we've been doing for our fantastic partners at Google, Bumble, Lyft and IMDb. Also, Ovrture is moving into the original audio space. This will allow us to create a direct to consumer pipe and offer brands a new way to engage with online communities. Whether it's title sponsorship or placed ads, podcasts are a growing medium that have a strong ROI for brands. Adding this competency to our arsenal only creates further value for our partners, Ovrture and the greater 44 Blue ecosystems.
About Ryan Weaver
Ryan Weaver is a business and creative executive who has expertise in scaling startup media companies and working across both established and emerging content ecosystems. He’s overseen content creation and monetization for publishers, brands, social platforms as well as more traditional media outlets. With Ovrture, he oversees creative and strategy for initiatives targeting branded, digital and emerging media platforms – having worked with the likes of Snapchat, Google, Bumble, Lyft, Comedy Central and IMDb. He joined four-year-old studio, Ovrture, roughly two years ago from fellow Red Arrow Studios sister company, Band of Outsiders. At Band of Outsiders, he was Head of Development and oversaw creative, forging content partnerships with the likes of Galore Media, MindBodyGreen and rewardStyle. Previous to that, he founded a content studio called Stick that produced original films as well as contributed to branded content campaigns. Ryan graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies.