College friends take fraternity dorm humor to TV

Mon Feb 9, 2009 4:04pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - In the latest example of how a small online video-sharing site has turned into a pop culture hit, a web site featuring American college humor took its fraternity pranks to television this week.

The web site, which was founded in a dorm room in 1999 by two high school friends to share humorous photos and videos, premiered on MTV on Sunday night as "The CollegeHumor Show."

The site featured user-submitted videos of late-night college escapades before moving to original comedy sketch videos and a short talk show targeted for a college age-viewership. It now attracts six million web visitors a month, according to Nielsen Online.

"It's incredible that what started out as an online hobby between friends has since grown and diversified its ever expanding business model," Josh Abramson, the 27-year-old co-founder of the site, said in a statement.

He started the site, which also produced a live comedy tour, books and clothing, with his friend Ricky Van Veen, 28.

The television show is scripted offbeat humor that features actual employees in their offices and a frat-house attitude, according to producers of the show.

Ratings for the premiere were not immediately available.

But a move to television may not signal further success, according to YouTube, the biggest example of an online video-sharing site that became a pop culture phenomenon.

YouTube's co-founder Chad Hurley predicted just over a week ago that advertisers will turn to the Internet as firms seek cheaper ways to advertise their products in the global economic downturn.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney; editing by Patricia Reaney)