Comedian Will Ferrell’s FunnyOrDie video website, a magnet for improv clips by celebrities, formed a partnership with Web researcher Klout.com to promote advertiser-sponsored entertainment.
The partners will combine their strengths to attract advertisers and audiences, FunnyOrDie Chief Executive Officer Dick Glover said in an interview. The closely held Los Angeles company, with cable-TV shows on HBO and Comedy Central, brings a recognizable brand, and Klout has expertise identifying influential users of social media, he said.
FunnyOrDie, which was started in 2007 by Ferrell and his writing and producing partner, Adam McKay, is looking to expand, Glover said. The companies will cooperate on a variety of projects that may include live comedy shows before an audience of social-media users who have large followings, chosen though Klout’s research.
“We won’t make the decision until we have a great event that is consistent with our brand,” Glover said.
FunnyOrDie, whose backers include director Judd Apatow and Creative Artists Agency, is looking for ways to use social media to increase advertising without losing the hip, improvisational tone that attracts young fans. Skits have included Charlie Sheen as a warlock cook, making fun of his own bizarre persona, and Marion Cotillard wearing plastic boobs on her forehead.
FunnyOrDie already makes a profit from Web ads, two cable television shows and videos that help celebrities and companies promote projects, Glover said.
Klout, based in San Francisco, ranks social media users by counting their followers on platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and how often their messages are relayed. The companies are “brainstorming” about potential projects, Klout co-founder and CEO Joe Fernandez said in an interview.
Investors include Menlo Park, California-based Sequoia Capital; Woodside, California-based Tanaya Capital and Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s HBO. Equity holders who have contributed services rather than cash include Gary Sanchez Productions, the film company founded by Ferrell and McKay, Apatow and CAA.
FunnyOrDie maintains a staff of 69 and has an office in Northern California.
“We have the same goals,” Fernandez said. “This partnership came together so easily because of that.”
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