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

Storytelling Innovation


Ron Howard and Brian Glazer are shepherding a new unprecedented storytelling project. The uber producers will use Universal Pictures infrastructure to tell Stephen’s King’s trilogy, The Dark Tower as a combination of films, television and even comic books.

By alternating the story between film and television – the storytellers can use different methods to engage the audience. Imagine using the television series to work in the incredible character development and the film to create incredible visuals.  They can change pace without being disjointed.  The key is that the material can support such an audacious move.  These incredible hefty literary properties will be the backbone of more innovative forms because of their depth and richness.

Of course, there are hurdles – the deal took months to complete and the actors are gonna be locked up for extended amounts of time but similar to Lord of the Rings – the overlaying production cycles will keep costs down and bring huge opportunity for financial success.

Adam Neuhaus

Graphic Designer Dominance

It took Radio thirty four years to reach an audience of fifty million, television did it in thirteen. The Internet had fifty million users in less than four years, and now there are over a billion websites online.

And then there were blogs. The vast majority of websites are written by amateurs, using programs written en mass that are no more complicated than a Myspace page. Thus the question arises, who is watching what, and how do you innovate when just getting by is seemingly good enough? Does it make any sense for Matt Drudge to invest time, energy or money in a flash site when he’s getting more hits than CNN and MSNBC combined?

Unlimited democracy, it seems, breeds mediocrity. Alex Cox said, that “film was the revolutionary medium of the twentieth century, and it can not be the same for the twenty first.” While we still exist in the infancy of this new century it is difficult to reconcile that our media saturation will soon capitulate to a growing necessity among individuals to separate themselves and their talents from the sheep at the slaughter.

The film makers of the next fifty years will be ground breaking graphic designers, who will manipulate the amorphous concepts that we now understand as “the web” in order to express new dimensions of technology.

EBIZ online magazine wrote up the top ten flash-sites of 2010, and although the list might be simple, if all you do is glance at the shiny graphics then you are just a pawn in the game. All ten of these sites, (and wonderwall, which they didn’t mention) are connected to brands/people who/which are changing their industries terrestrially, is matt drudge really doing that?

So next time you wanna find something other than porn online, peep the list, and think about how your gonna be buying your kids creativity via their Skype account.

Vic Reznik

Books Ain’t Dead!


Whoever says publishing is dead hasn’t been watching enough TV. Good old fashioned books are alive and well these days…thanks to television. Book source material has always been major fodder for the big screen, (and is regularly Oscar-worthy at that, some of us have always maintained that adaptations are the last bastion of intellectualism in Hollywood, but that’s another story…) but now TV producers and networks are getting in on the word, literally.


Teenage girls aren’t the only ones getting their pages turned, major literary royalty has been seeing deals, including Pat Conroy, and a host of young, acclaimed authors. The commercial potential of multiple platforms for author’s stories are a huge driver of the book market.


Books publishing rights are often sold simultaneously with film or TV rights, and the latter’s potential can be a boon to an author’s chances of making their work a big seller.


As it stands now, there is no Emmy category for adapted material, but that could easily change.


Maybe the way to get more people to enjoy reading…is to get more people to enjoy their television.

-Katherine Myers

Film Directors Get Fashionable

A recent article in Slate Magazine, Why is David Lynch Pimping This Handbag? and PSFK’s previewing Frank Miller’s Gucci commercial that will premiere got me thinking about the growing trend of five star directors and major fashion houses coming together to make short-films. 

The Slate article debates – what are these… films?  Commercials, short-films, advertising films, mini-films?  No matter how you slice it – these have been going on for quite some time.  For example, David Lynch directed Benecio Del Toro and Heather Graham (he’s aged/she hasn’t) in 1988 for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. 



Why do we watch these films?  What’s there importance?  Are they important?   As Sasha Watson said in her article we watch because of the vagaries of these projects. 

Vagary – an erratic, unpredictable, or extravagant manifestation, action, or notion

Very well put Sasha. 

That – it seems – is art.  Even if the art is intended for us to consider the brand and their products – it’s still enough to make us see life within a new context and that is what art is supposed to do.  The other truth beneath the surface is perhaps major film directors need the work from fashion houses more than ever before and fashion houses need to diversify their brand platform so they invest in some high-profile visual stimulation.  A little of both perhaps?

Enjoy Lagerfeld’s Chanel short-film where everyone from Coco, Bardot, and other famous fashion legends/luminaries in the background and the foreground as Lagerfled pays homage to the 70s and beyond.



Dating On The Go


Location, location, location.

One of the big trends for 2010 is real time, location based applications.  So whatever you can do from a computer, you can now do from wherever you are.

That means finding a date NOW at the bar around the corner, finding items on sale NOW on the block your walking or finding out when a fresh hot pizza has just come out of the oven at the pizza place next door as you are getting hungry.

Keep an eye on this trend because it will create a series of micro industires.