The Talent Owns The Building



Seacrest, CAA and AEG are possibly partnering to start AXS cable channel.  What’s crazy is in this same article there are murmurs of Comcast purchasing AEG due to their portfolio of the some best arenas/stadiums in the world, in order to compete with Live Nation/Ticketmaster.   At this rate, we’ll have one music-live-event-tv-cable-premium content-set-top-box-ticket distributor to go to and we’ll just call it the ministry of live entertainment come 2015. 


All joking aside – what’s in it for Mr. Seacrest?


It’s no secret that Ryan has had a consummate show biz resume starting from his youth.  Idol and E! Entertainment exposure lead to overall deals, tv, radio, producer credits, first-looks, back-end participation – you name it – Ryan’s done it and has a reputation as one of the hardest working men in show business.  What is Seacrest’s rationale behind this latest strategic move?


The little known fact about the what makes the cable business go round are extreme affiliate fees.  It’s a $32B dollar a year business.  It’s why Oprah Winfrey is opting to hang up her hosting shoes and go into retirement off of Oprah Premium Programming.  Click on this link to learn more about the cable biz from the awesome VC, Bill Gurley.


When you are an Agent in Hollywood – you yearn to put together mega-deals like this CAA/Seacrest with AEG. These type of deals are headliners and they make both you and your client a lot of money – something CAA’s been good at for quite some time.  This is why Seacrest’s former agent, Adam Sher left to become President of Seacrest Productions in 2008.   It’s what a good agent should always be trying to accomplish.  Take a brand name  talent and connect to the proper business model.  See Oprah, Ashton, Ellen, Lady Gaga, Diddy, Paris Hilton, Kardashian and Lebron.  Vertically integrate the talent and those revenue streams!


Another example are the Jonas Bros (who are already a multi-million dollar a year biz) partnership with AOL in Cambio, which gives the talent from their label The Jonas Group a platform to control their message and brand to their core demographic.   Cambio is a web-site/platform that aims to be MTV-meets-online programming. 


For AOL, Cambio (Spanish for “change”) represents a move to more premium content as opposed to the creation of lower-cost niche sites aimed at various slices of tech aficionados, sports fans and women. The focus on “premium” content is also an extension of the plans AOL has been working on for its advertising business.’ 


Major talent partnering up with major companies is nothing new – been happening for years (See United Artists and Charlie Chaplin.)  Major talent partnering up with big media for ownership stake in the property is all about equity.   


As talent needs to sustain traction/exposure in the marketplace to demand a strong dollar so do major media brands. Its a safer bet for both teams – big media gives up some ownership but keeps talent happy and committed and talent becomes an owner instead of a hired gun.   As the battle for the consumer’s attention grows even more intense – entertainment brands – people and businesses will push hard to remind you who is the best at the premium entertainment experience. 


Mitchell Kapler

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