Vuguru CEO Larry Tanz Talks Raunchy Puppets, Club 33 and His Boss, Michael Eisner [INTERVIEW]

On “The Booth At The End” is there any word on a season three?

We have some ideas for season three. I would say pretty definitively there will be more of “The Booth At The End.” We’re just trying to figure out what we do and when.

What platform have most of your views come from — iPad, iPhone, laptop — do you know that?

I wish I did, but I actually don’t. I do know that when we did season one of “The Booth” on Hulu, most of the views came from PC, and when we did season two, a much larger percentage came from Hulu Plus which would be tablets, and so we’re seeing a shift and so it’s sort of like over time more and more views are moving to the tablet. Like on the AOL titles, they just launched AOL On, which is their video platform. They just launched it on iOS pretty recently so we’re kind of starting at zero and it’s going up from there, so it’s still probably more PC than mobile, but mobile is definitely growing fast.

What makes Vuguru different from some of the other multi platform creator networks out there?

We develop and we finance our own programing, so that’s probably the thing. I always repeat that, because in Hollywood 99 percent of people are out trying to get money for projects, and one percent are actually putting money in. We actually find creatives that we like and we put our own money up and we go make it. We don’t rely on distributors to give us the money up front, we don’t rely on advertisers to fund the programming — we fund it ourselves, so that’s one main distinction from most of the other players. The other thing is we’re peer-placed studio; we don’t operate a network. If you look at AMC, their first big show was “Mad Men” from Lionsgate, their second big show was “Breaking Bad” from Sony, their third big show is their own “Walking Dead,” but in the television world there are companies like Warner and Lionsgate and Sony who actually provide a huge amount of the best shows on TV, yet they don’t operate channels. There is no Lionsgate channel or Sony channel or Warner channel, so we’re different in that regard in that we’re not also operating a network, so we’re very, very focused on the creative, and we can also do creative across multi-genres and audiences. So on one end we can sell something to CW digital, we can sell something to SyFy digital, we can sell something to Hulu, we can sell something to AOL — and we have done all that — we sell something to Yahoo, and they’re all very, very different and very different audiences. And in a lot of cases, those shows would not be able to appear on one channel, so that’s another major distinction. And then the third is we’re very focused on scripted story-driven programming, so it’s not personality-based or lifestyle programming. It’s like cable evolved; all the best shows are on cable now: “Breaking Bad,” “Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland.” But then there is the Travel Channel and Food Network and the Weather Channel and Home & Garden Network, and there are very popular lifestyle programming on those channels, so we’re more in that former category, whereas most of the digital players are very focused on lifestyle nonfiction programming mostly because it’s snackable and the advertisers like it. What we’re doing is a little harder to do but we think there is more long-term value in doing that for us.

What do you guys have upcoming for us?

I don’t have the launch date ‘cause they honestly haven’t told me yet but based on you have a unique, slightly twisted sense of humor, I think you’re going to love “The Fuzz,” and I’ll send you a trailer on it. “The Fuzz” is going to launch on Yahoo, and it’s also being sold all over the world as we speak, starting at Mint TV — that was just in April. “The Fuzz” is a world where humans and puppets coexist and we meet Herbie, this puppet cop who gets assigned to special task force to solve a whole bunch of murders in P-Town and to try and break up this drug ring in P-Town where the drugs are jelly beans, and he is assigned a really reluctant human cop partner and neither of them is supposed to be able to sell anything, but they like go on this adventure to try and break the case wide open. It’s a little bit like “Scarface” with puppets, but it’s pretty funny so we’re excited about that one; it will be launching on Yahoo, and we don’t know exactly when yet, but soon.

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