Animation site Aniboom launches YouTube channel

NEW YORK Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:09am EDT

A screenshot of Aniboom.com, taken on August 20, 2007. Aniboom, an Internet home for animators to create and share original clips, is launching its own channel on video site YouTube with the aim of hatching the next animated blockbuster that could rival ''The Simpsons'' or ''South Park.'' REUTERS/www.aniboom.com

A screenshot of Aniboom.com, taken on August 20, 2007. Aniboom, an Internet home for animators to create and share original clips, is launching its own channel on video site YouTube with the aim of hatching the next animated blockbuster that could rival ''The Simpsons'' or ''South Park.''

Credit: Reuters/www.aniboom.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Aniboom, an Internet home for animators to create and share original clips, is launching its own channel on video site YouTube with the aim of hatching the next animated blockbuster that could rival "The Simpsons" or "South Park."

A small startup founded in Israel last year, Aniboom offers professional and amateur animators a place to showcase their clips and test their popularity with Web audiences.

The company also provides tools for creating animations and has to date built a community of more than 2500 animators from more than 70 countries who use the site.

The next step, says founder and Chief Executive Uri Shinar, is to cultivate animated entertainment that could be the next big hit for audiences on the Web or elsewhere. Aniboom has selected 10 animators to each create a short Web series of up to 8 episodes.

"We are finding the right, top talent out of the community of Aniboom animators and we are offering them a partnership that we create with them a series," Shinar said in an interview.

"We put the series all over the Web and whatever will catch

will be the next hit," he said. "The main dream, if you like, is that the next South Park will come out of Aniboom."

Aniboom is also soliciting pitches from animators to jointly develop and fund a series.

In addition to its own Aniboom.com site, the company will announce this week a dedicated channel on Google Inc.'s YouTube to gain a wider audience for its clips.

It is in talks with wireless carriers, television networks and other distribution channels to reach the largest possible audience.

Shinar, who previously served as CEO of Israeli broadcaster Keshet, views the Internet as a testing ground for new entertainment that could be the envy of traditional television production.

With the same investment it would take to create one pilot for a television program and screen it to an audience of 100 people for their response, "we can produce 10 series (for the Web) and throw it to a focus group of two million viewers," he said.

Seeking success on the Internet has precedent in the world of cartoons and animated comedy.

Viacom's Comedy Central turned "Lil' Bush," a series of short video clips about President George W. Bush and his administration into a regular 30-minute series on cable television.

Comedy Central is home to "South Park." News Corp.'s U.S. network Fox airs "The Simpsons."

Aniboom received $4.5 million in a first round of funding from Israeli venture capital firm Evergreen.