Jon Stewart, HBO Shelve Digital Short-Form Project: Reports

Cite ‘technical issues’ linked to production and distribution, say they’ll pursue other projects
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Jon Stewart and HBO have cancelled plans to go forward with a plan to create short-form digital content for OTT services such as HBO Now and HBO Go, according to multiple media reports.

“HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project,” HBO said in a statement to outlets that included The New York Times. “We all thought the project had great potential, but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material. We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together, which you will be hearing about in the near future.”

HBO and Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, announced a four-year, exclusive production pact in November 2015 that included the short-form digital project and a first-look option for other film and TV projects.

RELATED: HBO Inks Jon Stewart to Exclusive Pact

HBO’s statement did not go into a lot of detail, but at the time of the announcement in 2015, HBO and Stewart said they’d be working with OTOY Inc. to develop "new technology” to help Stewart produce timely, short-form digital content.

Last year, HBO and Discovery Communications acquired stakes in OTOY, with plans to create and publish original holographic content that can be distributed across TV, web, mobile and augmented and virtual reality platforms.

RELATED: HBO, Discovery Buy Stakes in OTOY

Last year, OTOY founder and CEO Jules Urbach talked about the company’s multi-platform ambitions in an interview (subscription required) with Multichannel News.

“Holographic content is really meant to describe an extension of movies and media that is projected onto a screen,” he said. “We’ve been at this for six years, building the tools and technology to build a creation pipeline … with cameras and now distribution of holographic video streams.”