Fred Seibert

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Fred Seibert
Fred Seibert by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Seibert at Vidcon 2014
Born
Frederick Seibert

(1951-09-15) September 15, 1951 (age 70)
EducationColumbia University
OccupationTelevision producer, media & technology entrepreneur
Years active1975–present
Websitehttp://fredseibert.com

Frederick (Fred) Seibert (born September 15, 1951) is an American television producer[1] and co-founder of MTV.[2] Seibert started Frederator Studios in 1998, resigned in August 2020 after 22 years, and on February 23, 2021 announced a new cartoon production company, FredFilms.[3] He has held leading positions with MTV Networks,[4][5] Hanna-Barbera,[1] and Next New Networks,[6] and is an angel investor in several technology and media start-ups. He has produced live action[7][8][9] and animated[10] programs for cable television[11] and the internet,[12] and began his professional career as a jazz and blues record producer.[13] Seibert's work has been honored in numerous fields. In music production his production has been nominated for a Grammy Award.[14] he has received an AIGA Medal[15] for lifetime exceptional achievements, [16] he is a member of the Animation Magazine Hall of Fame[17] and has been awarded several Annie Awards[18][19][20] and Emmy Awards[21][20] for his television productions.

Early career[edit]

Seibert began his media career in college radio at Columbia University's WKCR-FM in 1969.[22] He says he spent most of his college career at the radio station headquareters rather than going to classes, therefore never graduating.[23]

While at Columbia he started his first company, Oblivion Records with partners Tom Pomposello,[24] and Dick Pennington, releasing LP's by Mississippi Fred McDowell (Live in New York) and Joe Lee Wilson. Simultaneously, he produced several dozen jazz and blues albums for independent companies such as Muse Records, JCOA Records (Jazz Composer's Orchestra),[25] and Birth Records (owned by instrumentalist/composer Gunter Hampel).[26] Seibert was an early employee of New Music Distribution Service, a non-profit distributor of musician owned record company started by composers Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, before going on the road with Bley's big band as sound engineer and road manager.[27][28]

After a late 1970s stint with media promotion innovator Dale Pon at New York's WHN Radio,[29] Seibert began his work at Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment in 1980.[4]

Cable television & Media Branding[edit]

Fred Seibert at Pixelodeon

Seibert was one of the co-founders of MTV: Music Television[2] as the channel's first creative director[4] and guided its original voice and visual identity, creating hundreds of promotions, advertisements, and station IDs for the channel, and responsible for a rethinking of how television channels promoted themselves as "brands."[30] He also commissioned and approved the mutating MTV logo (designed by the Manhattan Design collective, which included his oldest childhood friend, Frank Olinsky), despite network executives objections to a logo that did not remain constant.[31] He led the team that developed "I Want My MTV!", one of the most famous advertising campaigns of the late 20th century.[32]

In 1983, with partner Alan Goodman, Seibert founded Fred/Alan Inc. in New York City as the world's first media branding company. They successfully overhauled the then-floundering children's cable channel Nickelodeon between June 1984 and January 1985, moving it from worst to first in the ratings in six months,[33] and continued overseeing network branding and promotion for eight more years. By the end of 1985, at the request of Nickelodeon president Geraldine Laybourne Seibert and Goodman conceived a radical rethinking of television networks by creating Nick-at-Nite, pitched as "the first oldies TV network."[34][35] Over the nine years of the company's existence they also did extensive work with The Movie Channel,[36] Lifetime,[37] Showtime[38] and Comedy Central.[39]

Seibert continued involvement with the cable TV industry for several years. He was employed by Turner Broadcasting as the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons,[40] then as a consultant for almost 15 years at Warner-Amex successor MTV Networks, and as a producer of several animated series[41] for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

Animated cartoons[edit]

From 1992 until 1996, as the last president of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio, Seibert was able to reinvigorate the company's creative reputation with the establishment of the animation incubator What a Cartoon!.[42] Modeled on the Golden Age of mid-20th century cartoons, the 48 short films from creators around the world, Hanna-Barbera was able to launch seven hit series after a dry spell since the launch of The Smurfs in 1981 for NBC. The shows included Genndy Tartakovsky's Dexter's Laboratory, David Feiss' Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel, Van Partible's Johnny Bravo, John R. Dilworth's Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Craig McCraken's The Powerpuff Girls.

After Ted Turner included Hanna-Barbera in Turner Broadcasting's 1996 sale to Time Warner, Seibert established Frederator Studios as an independent animation producer based in Burbank, California.

Frederator has established itself as a major American independent with several series on Nickelodeon (like Rob Renzetti's My Life as a Teenage Robot), Cartoon Network (Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time), and Cartoon Hangover (Pendleton Ward's Bravest Warriors, Natasha Allegri's Bee and PuppyCat), and Kevin Kolde's production of Castlevania for Netflix.[4]

Seibert created 250 short cartoons between 1995 and 2018 at Hanna-Barbera, Frederator Studios, 19 of which were continued as series at Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Hangover, Netflix and YouTube.

Seibert has also created the Internet channels Next New Networks, Channel Frederator, Cartoon Hangover, and Next New Networks.

After starting Frederator Studios in 1997, Seibert brought together a group of investors in a failed attempt to save the troubled underground/alternative comics publisher Kitchen Sink Press.[43]

Internet and video[edit]

In March 1999, MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston tapped Seibert to become the first president of the new MTV Networks Online, soon to split into MTV Interactive (The MTVi Group) and Nick.com.[5]

Building on this new media success, in 2007 Seibert conceived and founded Next New Networks (with Emil Rensing, Herb Scannell, Tim Shey, and Jed Simmons),[44] the leading online television company, with over 2 billion all time video views[45] and over 200 million views every month (as of 2010). Along with their affiliated Indy Mogul, Barely Political, Channel Frederator and several other networks, the company's superdistribution has allowed it to become among the most widely distributed video in the world, and to become YouTube's top professional content provider. By the end of 2010, Next New Networks had the globe's top two videos viewed on YouTube.[46] In March 2011, Next New Networks was acquired by YouTube.[47][48][49]

In 2004 David Karp interned at Frederator Studios at its first New York City location, and built the company's first blogging platform.[50] In 2007 he launched Tumblr from a rented desk at Frederator Studios' Park Avenue South offices, with chief engineer Marco Arment.[51][52] Seibert was one of Tumblr's first bloggers,[53] an angel investor in the company, and served on its board before its acquisition.[54]

Seibert and his Frederator Networks partnered with John Borthwick and Betaworks; Jonathan Miller, Jason Ostheimer, Shari Redstone; and entrepreneur Yoel Flohr to form Thirty Labs in 2014, a startup studio based in New York City to develop and invest in video based technology businesses[55] Seibert is CEO and Flohr, COO. The company shuttered in 2015.

On February 21, 2012, Fred Seibert launched Cartoon Hangover, a channel on YouTube which consists of various animated shorts and series. Cartoon Hangover gained a much larger audience with the revival of Bravest Warriors by Pendleton Ward on November 8, 2012[56] which originally aired as a pilot on Fred Seibert's Random! Cartoons on Nicktoons Network in 2009.[57] In 2014, Channel Frederator was revived as a multi-channel network focused entirely on animation, signing one of YouTube's biggest animation channels, Simon's Cat.[58] By September 2014, the network was distributing 688 channels, with over 65 million monthly views and 10.5 million subscribers,[59] and by 2017 announced it had reached 1 billion monthly views on YouTube.[60]

Season 2 of Bee and PuppyCat was accidentally leaked onto Seibert's Vimeo channel in early 2020.[61] The episodes were later removed from the platform, but not before several streaming websites managed to obtain copies. Seibert stepped down from his position as CEO of Frederator in August, though the company indicated that he would remain executive producer for current projects, including Bee & PuppyCat.[62][63] More recently, he started FredFilms with a first look deal at VIS Kids.[64]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Story of Kids TV Mastermind Fred Seibert".
  2. ^ a b "MTV Founding Creators".
  3. ^ "Animation Vet Fred Seibert Launches New Production Company, FredFilms, And First-Look Deal With VIS Kids At ViacomCBS".
  4. ^ a b c d Times, Los Angeles. "Fred Seibert foresees 'next golden age of animation' on Internet".
  5. ^ a b Katz, Richard (31 March 1999). "Seibert makes virtual return to MTV roots".
  6. ^ "'YouTube Next': Google Acquires Next New Networks". 7 March 2011.
  7. ^ Gilbert Gottried… Naturally, ‘’IMDB”, 30 October 2021
  8. ^ Kids’ Court, ‘’IMDB”, 30 October 2021
  9. ^ Turn It Up!, ‘’IMDB”, 30 October 2021
  10. ^ Strike, Joe. The Fred Seibert Interview, Animation World Network, 15 July 2003.
  11. ^ Grillo, Jean. New Network Look: Hairy, Fat Cablevision, Scribd.com, 7 June 1982.
  12. ^ Bolger, Tom. "I Want My NNN!", Gotham Magazine, February 2008.
  13. ^ "The Fred Seibert Interview — Part 1".
  14. ^ “Recording Academy Grammy Awards, Grammy.com, 20th Annual Grammy Awards 1977;
  15. ^ “AIGA Medal”, AIGA.com.
  16. ^ “AIGA Medalist, September 11, 2000”, AIGA.com.
  17. ^ Zahed, Ramin. World Animation & VFX Summit Enjoys Another Successful Edition ‘’Animation Magazine”, AnimationMagazine.net, 3 November 2017,
  18. ^ Adventure Time Annie Awards and Nominations
  19. ^ Fanboy and Chum Chum Annie Awards and Nominations
  20. ^ a b The Fairly OddParents Awards
  21. ^ Emmys.com
  22. ^ WKCR-FM, Columbia University
  23. ^ "Alan". Fred Seibert Dot Com (Personal Tumblr). 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Vidani, Peter. "WKCR and Oblivion".
  25. ^ "Discogs - Clifford Thornton / The Jazz Composer's Orchestra – The Gardens Of Harlem".
  26. ^ "Fred Seibert".
  27. ^ "My Mentors: Michael Mantler".
  28. ^ "On the Road with Carla Bley (and a big band of musical geniuses and misfits)".
  29. ^ "Fred Seibert on the MTV Logo". JazzWax by Marc Myers.
  30. ^ "Fred Seibert on the MTV Logo - JazzWax".
  31. ^ "MTV Logo Story", FrankOlinsky.com
  32. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob; Marks, Craig (27 October 2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Penguin. ISBN 9781101526415 – via Google Books.
  33. ^ "From Worst to First", Fred/Alan
  34. ^ "A Look Back at 35 Years of Nick at Nite" By Jeff Sheldon |date=30 October 2021
  35. ^ "The first oldies television network.|date=30 October 2021]], Fred/Alan
  36. ^ [https://fredalan.org/tagged/The-Movie-Channel "The Movie Channel, network identifications 1988 & 1981"|date=30 October 2021]], Fred/Alan
  37. ^ " Lifetime tries ‘Talk Television,’ 1984." |date=30 October 2021, Fred/Alan
  38. ^ [https://fredalan.org/tagged/Showtime "Showtime's Got Rock!" & "The Honeymooners Lost Episodes Showtime 1984"|date=30 October 2021], Fred/Alan
  39. ^ "Naming Comedy Central"|date=30 October 2021, Fred/Alan
  40. ^ Variety Staff (24 March 1994). "Q&A with Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert".
  41. ^ "Fred Seibert".
  42. ^ What A Cartoon? Ask.com
  43. ^ Stump, Greg. "News Watch: Teetering Towards a Shutdown, Kitchen Sink Searches for a Savior," The Comics Journal #196 (June 1997), pp. 7-14.
  44. ^ Stone, Brad. "Internet Start-Up to Take a Hybrid Media Approach", The New York Times, 8 March 2007.
  45. ^ Shannon Miller, Liz. "Next New Networks Nears 1B Views, Profitability" Archived 2010-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, GigaOM.com.
  46. ^ "That Was The Year That Was", Frederator Blogs, 31 December 2010.
  47. ^ "Supercharging the “Next” phase in YouTube partner development", The Official YouTube Blog, 7 March 2011.
  48. ^ "Google's YouTube Buys Next New Networks", LA Times blogs, LATimes.com, March 2011.
  49. ^ "Here Comes YouTube Next", Next New Networks, YouTube.com
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 19, 2006. Retrieved 2013-06-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  51. ^ Karp, David; Alexandria, Julie (May 27, 2008). David Karp and Tumblr (Video). Wallstrip. Event occurs at 1:30. Retrieved February 24, 2013. Sometime in 2006, we had a couple of weeks between contracts and said 'Let's see what we can do, let's see if we can built this thing', and we threw together the first working version of Tumblr.
  52. ^ ""Tumblr: David Karp's $800 Million Art Project" Forbes, January 2, 2013". Forbes.com. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
  53. ^ "Frederator Studios Blogs - Fred Seibert's Blog - Killing them softly".
  54. ^ "Tumblr CEO David Karp's Wild Ride from 14-Year-Old Intern to Multimillionaire - MediaShift". 22 May 2013.
  55. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Media Veteran Fred Seibert Ties Up With Betaworks To Create Video Technology Incubator Thirty Labs".
  56. ^ Video on YouTube
  57. ^ "Random! Cartoons".
  58. ^ Spangler, Todd (19 February 2014). "YouTube Animation Network Frederator Pacts with Simon's Cat".
  59. ^ "Channel Frederator Network Continues To Dominate Online Animation". 24 September 2014.
  60. ^ Frederator's Multi-Channel Network Surpasses 1 Billion Monthly Views Tubefilter, October 24, 2017
  61. ^ Bee and Puppycat season 2 finally finds a release at Netflix - Polygon
  62. ^ Kidscreen » Archive » Fred Seibert leaves Wow! Unlimited
  63. ^ The Frederator Studios Tumblr
  64. ^ Hayes, Dade (2021-02-23). "Animation Vet Fred Seibert Launches New Production Company, FredFilms, And First-Look Deal With VIS Kids At ViacomCBS". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-02-25.

External links[edit]