Strictly Business

Industry leaders converse about business deals, strategy and the future of media and entertainment.

TV & Film
Pachinko' Producer on the Future of Series for ...
When Michael Ellenberg left HBO to start his own production company, In Media Res, five years ago, the streaming wars had barely reached full steam. But he's learned plenty since then about what it takes to launch series like "Pachinko" and "The Morning Show" for consumers far beyond the U.S.
28 min
When Worlds Collide: A Dealmaker’s View of the ...
Carlos Jimenez, managing director of Moelis & Co., explains his view that the entertainment economy is in the midst of a massive transformation into a “metaverse” where entertainment, media, gaming, sports and other activities merge. “All of these worlds are colliding – it’s the future,” Jimenez says. He also weighs in on the content spending boom and where investors see opportunity amid the turmoil in media.
23 min
Billie Eilish's Longtime Agent Tom Windish on B...
Ahead of the thrice-rescheduled Coachella music festival, Billie Eilish’s longtime agent Tom Windish talks about his star client’s growth as a live artist, COVID’s disruption of touring and joining Wasserman Music as head of business development and A&R.
38 min
Mid-Budget Films Are Dead? The Producer of 'Scr...
William Sherak and his partners at Project X Entertainment think there's room for success in movie theaters beyond Marvel franchises; they've already proven it this year with the revival of the 'Scream' brand, and they're out to do it again with a Michael Bay action movie. But that's just the beginning for this ambitious company intent on pursuing M&A in hopes of becoming Hollywood's next mini-major.
29 min
Dr. Seuss Enterprises CEO Susan Brandt Expands ...
The longtime leader of Dr. Seuss Enterprises discusses the responsibility that comes with managing the valuable vault of books and IP left by the author and illustrator of such indelible children’s books as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Horton Hears a Who.” She details the company’s approach to expanding with content beyond the original Seuss canon, and she outlines the reasoning behind the recent flurry of new Suess-related movies, TV shows and books.
29 min
'Content Influences Everything': Kevin Mayer an...
Candle Media co-CEO Kevin Mayer and Medialink chief Michael Kassan offer a 30,000-foot view of making deals and building businesses in the emerging "creator economy" during the SXSW 2022 conference keynote session. The industry veterans also discuss the entertainment industry's changing economics and offer a few predictions for the future.
57 min
Producer Charles Roven Takes ‘Uncharted’ Path T...
The Atlas Entertainment chief details the 13-year journey to bring the popular PlayStation video game to life on the big screen as the start of a family-friend adventure franchise. The producer -- who made his name with on big-budget blockbusters such as “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman” -- discusses the evolving landscape for the film business as the streaming revolution takes root. “I'd certainly rather have a buoyant market than a market where there’s no money to make movies,” he says.
29 min
How Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs is Unlocking...
CEO Scott Greenberg and COO/president Melody Hildebrandt discuss how they've built an NFT-focused unit within the Fox conglomerate, exploring the disruptive potential of digital ownership for properties as varied as "The Masked Singer," WWE and SXSW.
32 min
Kara DioGuardi Conquered the Music Business, an...
Kara Dioguardi is a songwriter, producer, music publisher, former artist, scholar, advocate for creators, two-season “American Idol” judge, label executive and talent scout. Her latest discovery: newcomer Gayle, whose “ABCDEFU” is a No. 1 radio hit. She looks back at her road to success, and ahead to a future where tech is working for creators as opposed to underpaying them.
51 min
Mattel’s Makeover: CEO Ynon Kreiz Reshapes the ...
The media veteran who took the reins of Mattel in 2018 outlines the toymaker’s recent turnaround strategy and his focus on mining the IP value locked up in Mattel’s “treasure trove” of toy and game brands. Kreiz is drawing on his deep background as a TV and digital entrepreneur (Fox Kids Network, Endemol, Maker Studios) to guide Mattel through new creative partnerships with Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, Vin Diesel, among other notable stars. Kreiz has grand ambitions of building a Marvel-like universe out of Mattel’s family friend assets. “We’re not making movies to sell more toys,” Kreiz says. “We’re making movies people want to watch.”
35 min
WetaFX CEO on Growing Peter Jackson’s Productio...
Prem Akkaraju is leading the charge to transform Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s Weta Digital visual effects firm into a full-fledged production company delivering original content. Akkaraju explains how the New Zealand-based Weta businesses have evolved during the past two years and where they see opportunity for the company in the increasingly crowded entertainment marketplace.
33 min
Kevin Liles on 300 Entertainment's $400 Million...
After holding top posts at Def Jam and Warner Music and managing Mariah Carey and D'Angelo, Kevin Liles went back into the label world a decade ago as co-founder of 300 Entertainment — which was sold to Warner for a reported $400 million in December, after scoring big hits with Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug and Gunna. He talks about his career, what's next for him and 300, and Mary J. Blige's new album and Super Bowl Halftime appearance.
27 min
Saltbox TV Isn't Your Father's Streaming Servic...
A new video-streaming service targeting senior citizens is betting that advertisers will finally wake up to the purchasing power of a demographic Madison Avenue has largely ignored. CEO Jerry Goehring explains how Saltbox TV customizes its product to meet the unique needs of a very big but underserved market.
29 min
Why Audible Is Courting Celebrities for Its Ori...
Rachel Ghiazza, Audible's U.S. head of content, discusses content strategy amid podcast competition on Variety's Strictly Business podcast.
47 min
Electronic Arts’ Laura Miele on Gaming’s Big Mo...
Laura Miele, chief operating officer of Electronic Arts, details how the video game giant is leveraging disruption to expand the reach and appeal of gaming. The 25-year company veteran, who helped launch EA’s long-running partnership with Lucasfilm on “Star Wars” titles, explains how EA works best with Hollywood IP and how gaming fits into the streaming wars. “I love (the) position that games have. It's incredibly engaging. It is interactive. And it's very social,” she says.
38 min
Chip and Joanna Gaines Renovate Their TV Busine...
Allison Page, president of Magnolia Network, offers behind-the-scenes details of how HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines returned to TV with the Jan. 5 launch of the Magnolia Network. She explains the business rationale why it makes sense for the lifestyle mavens and Discovery to invest in a linear channel even at this time of streaming transformation. “We gave a lot of people a cozy sweatshirt,” she says of the "comfort food TV" that Magnolia aims to provide.
35 min
Soundtracking Music’s Creator Economy With Spli...
Even if you’ve never heard of the online music marketplace Splice, you’ve certainly heard its sounds in hit songs by Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, Justin Bieber and more. Founder and CEO Steve Martocci talks about his entrepreneurial journey and the DNA of his company, which has paid out more than $55 million to music creators since launching in 2015.
39 min
How Hollywood's Top Films Benefit From Audience...
Kevin Goetz, founder and CEO of audience-research firm Screen Engine/ASI, has written a book, "Audience-ology: How Movie-goers Shape the Films We Love," that looks back on three decades of using test screenings to help studios and other clients fix their films before release.
29 min
How Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciq...
The studio chief details the moves he’s made since 2017 to sell or shutter underperforming assets and to bulk up in content production and anime. Vinciquerra explains how the studio has sought to reposition itself for the streaming future and the disruption in Hollywood that he saw coming after decades of experience in television and media.
34 min
‘The Door is Open’: Industry Veteran Pens a Wri...
Kelly Edwards, a TV writer-producer and a former executive at UPN, HBO and NBCUniversal, divulges the secrets every aspiring TV writer needs to know to navigate Hollywood in her new book “The Executive Chair: A Writers Guide to TV Series Development.” Edwards offers insights that writers need to know on everything from pitching to production. Here she explains how crafting the book helped her gain perspective on a fast-changing industry.
27 min
Lana Del Rey and Dua Lipa's Managers on the Suc...
TaP Music's Ed Millett and Wendy Ong oversee the careers of some of the most popular and powerful female artists in the business, including Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa and Ellie Goulding. They also see first-hand the online abuse female artists receive, which is far worse than it is for male counterparts. Here, they talk about keeping their artists focused and positive — and the decision to release Dua Lipa's party-themed "Future Nostalgia" right when the world entered lockdown.
28 min
TikTok’s Bryan Thoensen on Building the App’s E...
Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships at TikTok, talks about expanding the popular short-video app’s work with creators and entertainment companies — to capitalize on its recent momentum. TikTok now has 1 billion monthly active users, challenging the likes of YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat for viewing time with its personalized video feed.
45 min
SPAC Speculation in Hollywood and Beyond From H...
If there's two things Harry Sloan knows, it's special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) and the media business. He co-founded a record seven SPACs as the co-founder of Eagle Equity Partners, including the most successful such venture to date: sports-betting hub DraftKings, and is also a well-known name in Hollywood, where his highest-profile stints including chairman/CEO of MGM.
37 min
ViacomCBS Streaming Chief Tom Ryan Sees 'Squid ...
The head of Paramount+ and Pluto TV offers an optimistic update for the growth prospects of his streaming services as the parent company expands its overseas capabilities. Meanwhile, Ryan sticks up for sticking with Amazon Channels and touts the early success of kids programming from "Paw Patrol" to "iCarly."
34 min
The State of the Music Industry, Fall 2021
Nearly 20 months into the pandemic, how is the music industry doing? The short answer? Finding silver linings everywhere it can. For the Mondo NYC conference last month, Variety assembled four people — rising singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer, WME agent Lucy Dickins, artist manager Binta Niambi Brown and Sony Music Publishing VP Kristina Hedrick — for a far-reaching and inspiring talk about how they, their businesses, their colleagues and/or their artists have adapted, and in some cases thrived.
40 min
The Operator: Joe Ianniello Carves a New Path W...
The longtime CBS executive has reteamed with a handful former colleagues to launch Argus Capital Corp., which has about $300 million in funding so far to acquire media properties. Ianniello explains he’s on the hunt for corporate carve-outs, or assets that media giants may be ready to shed as they plow resources into new streaming platforms. Argus brings an experienced management team that aims to be a bolt-on solution for newly public entities. Ianniello hopes the focus on operating expertise will set his venture apart from other SPACs.
29 min
Conde Nast's Pam Drucker Mann Ready to Double D...
Vogue's exclusive Met Gala red carpet live stream in September has set a template for parent company Conde Nast to repeat its success at future events, according to chief revenue officer Pam Drucker Mann.
37 min
Steve Ballmer Builds a Basketball Mecca for the...
Los Angeles Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer outlines his vision for his “mecca” of basketball with team’s new arena that is scheduled to open in Inglewood, Calif. in 2024. Ballmer enthusiastically describes the cutting-edge tech touches and focus on sustainability that went into the design. And he weighs in on the future of NBA’s television rights deals at the national and local levels.
24 min
Why Business is Booming for Hollywood Life Righ...
Jason Richman and Keya Khayatian, co-heads of United Talent Agency's media rights group, scour the world for news books, long-form journalism, podcasts and individual life rights to find source material for your next streaming obsession. The industry veterans discuss the growth in demand for life rights, the supreme power of the suburban book club and how media rights sales have help keep talent agencies afloat during the pandemic.
30 min
Attorney Dina LaPolt Tackles the Music Industry...
Attorney Dina LaPolt founded her own firm 20 years ago and went on to represent music stars like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, rappers 21 Savage and Cardi B and the Tupac Shakur estate. As her practice grew, so did LaPolt’s conviction for righting the music ecosystem’s wrongs. She’s tackled songwriters’ rights and access to digital royalties; she campaigned for federal COVID relief to help music creators and independent contractors; and she’s currently advocating to eliminate the use of triggering terms like “master recording” in contracts. A Variety ‘Power of Women’ honoree, the openly gay, loudly sober industry trailblazer lets ‘Strictly Business’ into her world of advocacy.
36 min
Bob Shaye Joins Brat TV as Strategic Investor
New Line Cinema founder and Hollywood legend Bob Shaye talks about why he joined the board of directors at Brat TV, a producer of scripted series targeting Gen Z on myriad digital platforms, along with Brat co-founder Rob Fishman, who gives an update on his company's progress.
33 min
Stacey Snider Builds ‘Fiercely Independent’ Sis...
The Hollywood veteran details the steps that led her to partner with Elisabeth Murdoch and producer Jane Featherstone to form the content banner Sister in 2019. Snider reflects on how her years of experience as head of Universal Pictures, DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox is helping her to build a nimble operation with financing and resources to nurture projects from writers and directors “who have something to say.”
32 min
Quality Control’s Coach K Talks Migos, Lil Baby...
Kevin Lee, better known as Coach K, is cofounder of Quality Control, the multifaceted Atlanta-based label and management company that in just eight years has brought the world Migos, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, City Girls and more, and also manages many athletes. Coach talks about how old-school “street marketing” and a cosign from his friend Drake helped launch the company, the gunshot injury that ended his sports career but set him on this path, and much more.
31 min
Big-Budget TV in a Bubble: How Arthur Smith Kep...
Prolific producer Arthur Smith discusses the explosive growth of the content marketplace and the many challenges COVID has created for production. The industry veteran, who is also chairman of Tinopolis Group U.S., explains why he loves the high-wire act of large-scale unscripted TV shows. And while he marvels at the spike in global demand, Smith misses the days when series deals were sealed on the basis of a title and a handshake. "The business has become more business-like," he observes.
34 min
Tinder Chases Gen Z Users With ‘Swipe Night’ an...
Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone explains why the dating app is embracing streaming video applications and other multimedia tools to keep its Gen Z user base engaged. He discusses the origin of its original series “Swipe Night” and how the show's choose-your-own-adventure format helps facilitate matches for Tinder users. The former CEO of CBS Interactive who launched CBS All Access in 2014 also weighs in on the state of play in Big Media's streaming wars.
28 min
Think Global, Act Local: Discovery Internationa...
The executive who sits atop Discovery’s portfolio of more than 200 international channels discusses the potential of the pending WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and the empire of entertainment, lifestyle, sports and news content to be brought together under one roof. Perrette weighs in on the rollout of Discovery Plus and how the unusual Tokyo summer Olympics performed for Discovery’s Eurosport streaming platform.
28 min
The Arms Race Fueling the Creator Economy
Dan Weinstein, co-founder of Underscore Talent, a new management firm representing influencer talent, explains how companies like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter have escalated their battle in recent months to court a new generation of digital-native celebrities.
32 min
Niche TV Players Find Their Lanes in the Stream...
Small independent TV companies are an endangered species at a time when media’s largest conglomerates are focused on the streaming wars and global expansion. In separate interviews, Paula Madison, CEO of The Africa Channel, and Bill Rouhana, chairman-CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, offer insights into why they zig when others zag and where they see opportunity ahead.
31 min
The Changing Role of a Music Manager With Three...
Music managers Mark Gillespie, of Three Six Zero, and Michele Harrison, of Range Media Partners, discuss representing hitmakers Calvin Harris and Justin Tranter, respectively, and how their roles as advisors have changed over the years.Music managers Mark Gillespie, of Three Six Zero, and Michele Harrison, of Range Media Partners, discuss representing hitmakers Calvin Harris and Justin Tranter, respectively, and how their roles as advisors have changed over the years.
34 min
Making Sense of Sensical, a New Digital Video H...
Common Sense Networks CEO Eric Berger unveils Sensical, a new kid-centric app that gives parents peace of mind by offering a safe alternative to the bigger video platforms that have gotten a bad reputation for serving up algorithmically driven content that may not be in their best interest to watch.
27 min
Inside CNN+: An Exclusive First Look at the New...
CNN Worldwide chief digital officer Andrew Morse shares the game plan for what he calls the biggest launch in the network's history since Ted Turner first brought the brand to cable TV in 1980. He addresses what to expect from its programming mix, how CNN+ will be different from the TV network and how interactivity with subscribers will be part of the content.
35 min
The State of the Media Sector Midway Through 2021
Six months into 2021, and the profound financial impact the pandemic had on the media industry is just beginning to be truly understood. Naveen Sarma, senior director of S&P Global Ratings, has closely studied the myriad ways the sector has been shaken up.
31 min
Stacey Bendet Eisner on the Sun Valley Scene, F...
The CEO and creative director of fashion juggernaut Alice + Olivia takes a break from the Allen & Co. moguls conference in Sun Valley to talk about the post-pandemic business landscape and why the ranks of female CEOS remain stubbornly low. Bendet Eisner also details her vision for Creatively, the startup professional network designed to help employers connect with freelancers in a range of creative fields.
33 min
Inside Twitter’s Strategy to Bring Celebs, Medi...
Twitter execs Sarah Rosen and Lara Cohen break down how the company teams up with talent and media firms to maximize reach and engagement — while acknowledging work the social platform still needs to do.
39 min
Scooter Braun, the Music Industry’s MVP, Is Pla...
Scooter Braun’s business savvy and mentorship of top artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have netted him a fortune — but not without drama. Variety’s Music Mogul of the Year lays bare his management philosophy, addresses misconceptions about his character and reveals his future plans with South Korean entertainment giant HYBE.
56 min
Making Addressable Accessible: ViacomCBS, Dish ...
ViacomCBS' Seema Patel and Dish's Tim Myers go deep on addressable TV, and how businesses like theirs have partnered together to tackle the challenge of getting the industry to adopt the tools that enable targeted commercials.
32 min
Global Video Gaming Continues to Accelerate wit...
Amounting to nearly $180 billion in 2020, the global video games market continues to ascend to new heights. Ophir Lupu, a partner and head of video games at UTA, discusses his involvement in several gaming sectors through his oversight of a diverse range of clients and negotiating of capital investment for new studios, along with how his division adapted to the pandemic and continued to foster virtual collaboration across UTA's other units.
33 min
Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal on the Festival's Retu...
Jane Rosenthal, founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, offers her perspective on how the entertainment industry is slowly but surely coming back to life. She details the massive effort that went into planning for this year’s 20th anniversary Tribeca Film Festival across New York’s five boroughs. The film veteran also weighs in on the cyclical nature of media M&A and the fate of old-fashioned movie-going.
23 min
WWE’s Stephanie McMahon on Building the Next Ge...
Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer, discusses the pro wrestling firm's evolution into a TV and digital content powerhouse over the past decade. The daughter of WWE chairman-CEO Vince McMahon and former WWE chief Linda McMahon details the “circuitous” path she took to learn every aspect of the business in preparation for her current role. She makes no apologies for the company’s forays into markets like Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi to expand the boundaries of what women can do publicly in entertainment and sports settings.
24 min
They Heart Audio: Radio, Podcasts and the New L...
As radio’s reach holds firm among a slew of streaming options, broadcasting veteran John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia, expounds on the importance of curation, looks back at the company’s pandemic pivot and assesses an exploding podcast market, astutely identified by his boss, Bob Pittman, while still in its infancy. Named chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, Sykes also talks about the Class of 2021 class, which includes Tina Turner, Jay-Z and the Foo Fighters, among others. Elsewhere in the iHeart empire: Lisa Worden, brand manager for rock and alternative and program director of Los Angeles radio station Alt. 98.7, reflects on a career spent soundtracking Southern California’s rock-loving airwaves.
36 min
From Upfronts to NewFronts, Madison Avenue Face...
Amid weeks of presentations from media brands to advertisers, there's no better time to check in on the state of the advertising business with Brian Wieser, global president of group intelligence at media-buying giant GroupM. From connected TV to e-commerce, he touches on all the biggest trends shaping how tens of billions of promotional dollars are being spent.
32 min
How LL Cool J’s Media and Commerce Venture is C...
James Cuthbert, president of Rock the Bells, discusses the company’s growth plans following its successful recent fundraising round of $8 million. The former BET and Coca-Cola marketing executive sees big potential for the legendary hip hop star’s company to craft a media and lifestyle brand that speaks to a multi-generational swath of consumers. Cuthbert discusses the company’s evolution into e-commerce, content production and live experiences and the importance of working to “uplift the culture.”
25 min
PBS Chief Paula Kerger Makes the Case for Publi...
Paula Kerger, longtime president of PBS, says pandemic conditions have underscored the importance of PBS and its mission. Kerger discusses how PBS stations partnered with districts to help with remote learning and how the network known for prestige TV is faring in the chase for top content. Separately, Weigel Broadcasting's Neal Sabin tells the backstory of why the company was so early on the multi-cast boom with channels such as Me TV.
33 min
Lyor Cohen: YouTube’s Global Head of Music on t...
Lyor Cohen started his career as a roadie for Run DMC and went on to head Def Jam Records when it was home to the likes of Jay-Z and DMX. With that experience, followed by a chief executive gig at Warner Music Group through 2012, he helped create the soundtrack that would play an important role in propelling hip-hop music from niche to mainstream to everywhere. Now coming up on 5 years as YouTube’s global head of music, Cohen shares his views on the place of record companies today, including who should be running Def Jam, and offers his thoughts on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame contender LL Cool J, the recent passing of rapper DMX and of Cardi B's "Wet Ass P—."
39 min
How MasterClass Founder David Rogier Brought St...
The CEO of the popular instructional service discusses the company’s launch in 2015 and how its growth was turbo-charged during lockdown conditions. Rogier details the uphill climb to convince notables such as Dustin Hoffman and Serena Williams to teach the first courses. He offers his wish list for future MasterClass instructors, and the former venture capitalist speaks candidly about the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur. “By nature you’re choosing to do pursue an idea that most people think is impossible,” he says.
28 min
Avalon CEO Laura Kennedy Flexes Indie Muscle on...
The CEO of the management-production company behind such series as “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “Breeders” discusses the company’s strategic advantages as an independent outfit with roots in the U.K. and U.S. Kennedy addresses the challenges and opportunities that talent representatives have at a time of enormous change for the industry. “We were a talent management company first — that’s really the DNA of the company,” she says.
19 min
Scripps Co. Bets Big on Broadcast Bandwidth as ...
Scripps Co. CEO Adam Symson explains why he doubled down on TV station acquisitions at a time when all eyes are on the transition to streaming media. The leader of the Cincinnati-based media firm with deep roots in mass media discusses the rationale behind the company’s $2.65 billion purchase of Ion Media. He also details how Scripps wound up enlisting Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as a partner in the transaction.
27 min
UTA’s Sam Wick Talks Building Businesses for Ta...
Sam Wick, head of UTA Ventures, discusses the booming marketplace for talent and business partnerships, from startups to equity ventures. Brands are becoming savvy about making connections with celebrities, influencers and creative talent at a time when millennial consumers are increasingly focused on companies with “founder-led stories.” The alumnus of Maker Studios, MySpace and also offers thoughts on the media M&A environment and sectors to watch in the coming year.
28 min
Wayne Brady Wants to Build an Improv Empire
The “Let’s Make a Deal” host talks about his ambition to build a consulting business based on the tenets of comedy improv: active listening, openness to collaboration and the ability to think fast on your feet. Brady, also a regular on “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” sees the “Yes and” philosophy of improv as a framework for helping youths develop self-confidence and critical thinking skills. He draws from his own story to explain why he is working to open youth-focused improv centers in Los Angeles and his hometown of Orlando, Fla.
33 min
Rob Stringer: The Sony Music Group Chairman Tal...
The Sony Music lifer has met more than his share of challenges since assuming the chairmanship in 2019: from making the right hires to see the company’s vision through to banking on talent and not just “hits” to segueing to a subscription-driven business to getting through a global pandemic and responding to the call for social justice -- all this as borders cease to exist in this new global music economy. Bonus: a talk with Grammy-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar.
48 min
Geoffrey Zakarian: An Iron Chef Adds Content Pr...
The celebrated chef and “Chopped” star discusses his growing Corner Table Entertainment banner that is busy producing TV shows for Food Network and other outlets, in addition to podcasts, charity telethons and a Tribeca Enterprises documentary about the pandemic’s devastation of New York’s restaurant scene. Zakarian offers his thoughts on the differences between launching a restaurant and launching a TV show — and for him it’s no contest as to which one is the harder job.
33 min
Virtual Production Takes Hold of Hollywood with...
The cutting edge of film and TV production technology is getting cornered by the videogame biz. Miles Perkins and Connie Kennedy of Epic Games, creator of the global phenomenon "Fortnite," discuss how their Unreal Engine software is increasingly being used during the pandemic to shoot with a new set of tools loosely known as virtual production.
33 min
How Cameo Cashed in on Celebrity Videos
Cameo CEO Steven Galanis says his company is part of a rising wave of direct-to-fan platforms enabling a much broader range of talent beyond A-listers to make money online. He explains how Cameo built a booming business by selling bespoke video shout-outs recorded by its roster of tens thousands of celebs.
37 min
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Producer on Build...
Charles King, CEO and founder of Macro, explains how the content company behind “Judas and the Black Messiah” has grown quickly with a focus on creating opportunities for underrepresented storytellers. King details the business deal that Macro and partners made with Warner Bros. on “Judas” and how he feels about the film’s day-and-date premiere in theaters and on HBO Max.
31 min
A Frank Conversation About “The Expanse” and th...
The co-founders and leaders of Alcon Entertainment detail the business backstory of the Syfy/Amazon fantasy drama “The Expanse,” a series that Alcon owns outright thanks to savvy dealmaking by the seasoned producer-financiers. Kosove and Broderick, known for movie hits including “The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli” and “Dolphin Tale,” also speak frankly about the state of the film marketplace and what happens post-pandemic. It’s an insightful session with two producers in the trenches.
40 min
Joy and Creativity: Why TikTok's Popularity Exp...
Blake Chandlee, VP of global business solutions and head of ad sales for TikTok discusses the social media platform's meteoric rise and how its many tools kept more than 100 million users engaged during lockdown conditions. He details TikTok's unique ability to connect its creators with blue-chip marketers to generate new innovative forms of advertising.
28 min
Roku's Scott Rosenberg Dishes on the Warner Med...
Hear more about big deals the senior VP of its platform business landed with Warner Media, paving the way for subscribers to enjoy HBO Max, and Quibi, which will bring the defunct mobile app's content to Roku. It's all a part of the company's big effort to evolve ad monetization on its platform, particularly through the fast-growing Roku Channel.
25 min
Pandemic Conditions Accelerate a ‘Metaverse’ of...
Bart Spiegel, U.S. entertainment and media deals leader for PWC, offers his 2021 outlook on dealmaking in an industry that has buffeted and buoyed by pandemic conditions. Spiegel points to the rise of videogame usage and a “repositioning” of...
18 min
Introducing 'Must Watch: Netflix Edition'
Each week, Observer senior entertainment reporter Brandon Katz and Hollywood Reporter contributor Jean Bentley highlight the new Netflix titles they're excited about. Recent guests: Daniel Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter, Joanna Robinson from...
1 min
Aryeh Bourkoff: How Big Media Can Change the Na...
Aryeh Bourkoff, CEO of LionTree, offers insights into how the pandemic has reshaped the marketplace and what that means for media dealmaking in the near term. The veteran investment banker, who is on speed dial for such notable, media moguls as John...
33 min
Making Sense of a Wild Year in the Streaming Wars
Instead of the usual guest interview, this episode features co-host Andrew Wallenstein offering his no-holds-barred assessment of everyone who competed in streaming video in 2020, from the stratospheric rise of Disney+ to the ignominious end of...
28 min
How Jessica Lessin Built a Digital Media Busine...
Jessica Lessin, founder and editor-in-chief of The Information, discusses the growth of the eight-year-old outlet that has distinguished itself through deep-dive reporting, analysis and scoops in the tech and media worlds. Lessin also offers her...
24 min
How Hollywood Dealmaker Thomas Dey Views the St...
Thomas Dey, president and CEO of ACF Investment Bank, discusses the dealmaking landscape in media and entertainment, predicting that networks and services stuck between those with massive scale and those with niche audiences will get "washed away."
37 min
How Producer Brent Montgomery Went From ‘Pawn S...
The veteran unscripted TV producer and entrepreneur behind Wheelhouse discusses the building blocks of his three-year-old venture. Montgomery, the producer behind “Pawn Stars” and other cable hits, explains why Wheelhouse has expanded beyond TV...
32 min
How Philo Keeps Pace in the Virtual MVPD Race
For just $20 a month, Philo offers consumers more than 60 cable channels. It's a simple value proposition that has helped this venture stand out in a crowded marketplace of so-called virtual MVPDs. And as Philo CEO Andrew McCollum explains,...
24 min
Sinclair's STIRR Bets That All TV Viewing is Local
Sinclair Broadcast Group has taken the streaming wars to local markets. The TV station giant is expanding its ad-supported STIRR platform designed to help its nearly 200 stations better monetize digital viewing of newscasts and syndicated programming....
29 min
Universal Pictures Marketing Chiefs Look Back o...
Michael Moses and Dwight Caines reflect on how they rewrote the theatrical promotional playbook over the course of the global pandemic as the , strike to shorten the theatrical window, and introduce a .
29 min
Investor Mellody Hobson: 'If It Matters, It's C...
Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, explains why she’s bullish on the media sector at a time of great transition for traditional TV and film giants. The respected investor and former DreamWorks Animation board chair asserts...
28 min
How Women With Agency Run Reese Witherspoon’s H...
Lauren Neustadter, head of film and TV for Hello Sunshine, discusses the growth of Reese Witherspoon’s content production banner. One of the company’s first employees, Neustadter explains the guiding principles for projects tackled by the company...
27 min
Larry Wilmore Navigates His New Show Through th...
The veteran comedy writer/producer/performer is back with another talk show on the Peacock streaming network, where he's up to the challenge of finding the humor amid bleak political headlines. Wilmore also traces his evolution through a 30-year TV...
30 min
Ted Sarandos on Netflix’s Five Years of Global ...
Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer discusses the global scope of the streaming giant’s business during a wide-ranging Q&A. Sarandos details how the company decides when to invest big in local language production, and the metrics that...
39 min
How Carlos Watson Built a Media Brand to Discov...
Carlos Watson, co-founder and CEO of Ozy Media, started his company in 2013 as a digital magazine venture that was dubbed by one reader “the love child of Vice and the Economist.” Watson’s ambition for Ozy Media has grown to include TV series,...
24 min
How Wattpad’s Aron Levitz Mines User-Generated ...
Wattpad Studios head Aron Levitz and his team comb through the nearly 1 billion stories that members of Wattpad’s 80 million-plus monthly users have shared on the app. His goal: to find the unique narratives that resonate with fans, and then turn...
53 min
How Dare I Not Succeed? How ‘Love and Hip Hop’ ...
Mona Scott-Young, CEO of Monami Entertainment and the steward of VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” franchise, discusses the growth of the company she launched in 2008. Scott-Young details the preparation and the lucky breaks that allowed her to seize the...
32 min
Reliving 'Green Book' History Through a New Pod...
Recently recreated in an Oscar-winning film, the travel route African-Americans used in the segregated south is being revisited not only as a new podcast, but as an audio guide thanks to a new integration between Apple Podcasts and Apple Maps....
27 min
VENN Founders Eye TV’s Big Game With Streaming ...
Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin, co-founders and co-CEOs of VENN, discuss how the “white space” in TV for content aimed at videogame enthusiasts drove them to launch the Videogame Entertainment & News Network streaming platform. The digital...
34 min
Disney TV’s Craig Hunegs on Steering 3 Studios ...
Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, details how the Disney-21st Century Fox mergers create a TV production behemoth and why studio chiefs decided it was important to maintain three distinct imprints: 20th Television, ABC Signature...
38 min
Clive Davis on Producing a Biopic That Captures...
The music biz legend discusses how he teamed with “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenwriter Anthony McCarten to develop a biopic of Whitney Houston, the singer whose career Davis shepherded to great heights before her tragic death in 2012. Davis details...
32 min
Understanding Snapchat's Role in Political Cove...
With the political conventions set for next week, the presidential campaign is ready to take yet another unpredictable turn. 'Good Luck America' host Peter Hamby gives his POV on what to expect next on the road to the election and his own role...
31 min
How New York Plans to Restart TV and Film Produ...
Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, discusses how New York City plans to gradually get TV and film production back in action amid the pandemic. “It’s been very hard to see these industries that are...
27 min
Hollywood's Big Challenge: Resuming Production ...
The dealmaking required to get studios, networks and guilds on the same page has gotten more complex than ever amid COVID-19, but that's what it will take to ensure the creation of more TV shows and movies. Ken Basin, head of business affairs at...
32 min
CW Chief Mark Pedowitz on TV’s Year of Disruption
CW chairman-CEO Mark Pedowitz discusses how the network has revamped its fall launch plans amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The executive who moved CW into the ad-supported streaming area nearly a decade ago also weighs in on the...
31 min
How Big Brands Blow It: Multicultural Marketing...
Lori Hall and Jessica Lane Alexander, co-founders of the newly launched multicultural marketing firm Pop’N Creative, discuss their Atlanta-based startup. The entertainment veterans who worked together at Turner Broadcasting and at TV One talk about...
41 min
LA's Laemmle Theatres Shares Its Struggle to Su...
CEO Greg Laemmle describes what it has been like to keep his chain of seven arthouse theaters afloat as they remain dark for a fourth month amid a COVID-induced shutdown. Having already laid off nearly 200 employees, he has begun to explore selling...
29 min
Richard and Demi Weitz
When the coronavirus lockdwon began in march, WME partner Richard Weitz was like any father looking to find a way to celebrate his daughter Demi’s 17th birthday amid the pandemic. From that humble start, the two have built the Quarantunes franchise...
36 min
The 'Watch Party' Trend Sweeping the Video Worl...
One key trend to emerge during the pandemic era is "watch parties," enabling socially distanced users to share a viewing experience. To explore this phenomenon, we spoke with Joe Braidwood, COO of Scener, which has differentiated itself from the many...
28 min
An Investor’s Guide to Navigating the Content B...
James Moore, managing partner and CEO of Vine Alternative Investments, discusses the asset management firm’s approach to building a diversified portfolio of content, production and IP holdings. The parent company of Village Roadshow has been slowly...
29 min
A Blueprint for How to Restart TV and Film Prod...
Blair Breard, a longtime New York City-based producer, details the steps that a coalition of producers are taking to prepare for the resumption of production in New York. Breard, known for her work on auteur-driven comedy series including “Louie,”...
31 min
Starz CEO Jeff Hirsch Doesn't Need to Finish Fi...
With the streaming wars in full swing, Starz finds itself in a crowded market alongside bigger ventures from HBO Max to Netflix. But as Starz CEO Jeff Hirsch explains, his company is content to be a second or third option behind other larger players...
26 min
How WarnerMedia Built HBO Max
Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct to Consumer, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creative and technical development of the HBO Max streaming service, which debuts May 27. He details the reasoning and rationale behind...
27 min