In about 698 days, the Walt Disney Company is supposed to have its fourth CEO in three years.
In about 698 days, the Walt Disney Company is supposed to have its fourth CEO in three years.
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is selling a majority stake to Paris-based Mediawan, Deadline has confirmed, following news several months ago that the company was seeking a buyer.
Fauda creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff are attending the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa for the world premiere of the fourth season of the show. Since the first season started streaming on Netflix, the Israeli political thriller has built up a huge following in India, and also has a Hindi-language remake, produced by Applause Entertainment for local streamer SonyLiv.
EXCLUSIVE: The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Has Fallen outfit Millennium Media is partnering with Will Smith’s German film and TV distributor, Telepool, to co-develop three English-language features over the next three years. Millennium Media is set to produce with Telepool serving as executive producer.
Hello Sunshine has added two senior executives. Stefanie Markman is joining the Candle Media company as General Counsel and EVP, Business and Legal Affairs, and Wifreddy Chiang as EVP, Finance and Accounting.
Patrick Frater Asia Bureau Chief Kevin Mayer says that the investment strategy at Candle Media, the hard-charging entertainment startup that he heads with Tom Staggs, is product of his career time at Disney and TikTok. While those two companies are behemoths and Candle Media a newcomer, the claim is not as outlandish as it seems. At Disney, Mayer was largely responsible the launch of the direct-to-consumer streaming businesses that became Disney+. And as Disney, Pixar and other group content was made exclusive and contained within a walled garden, it stoked demand for premium independently-made content. Candle Media sets its sights on becoming just such a supplier.
EXCLUSIVE: Candle Media-backed Spanish-language powerhouse Exile Content Studio has promoted Nando Vila to succeed Daniel Eilemberg as Head of Studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Faraway Road Productions, the production label founded by Fauda creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff and which was acquired this year by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media, has hired Salome Peillon and Adi Ezroni, as Chief Operating Officer and EVP of Content, respectively.
Anna Marie de la Fuente Latin-focused content powerhouse Exile Content Studio has snagged a majority stake in the Lil’ Heroes NFT Franchise which will soon spawn a toon series with NBA star Carmelo Anthony.He will voice and exec produce the show through his company, Creative7 Productions.The news comes in the wake of Exile’s acquisition in late May by Candle Media, the next generation media company founded by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. Said Mayer and Staggs, who serve as co-CEOs: “We are excited to expand Exile’s partnership with Lil’ Heroes, a dynamic new franchise with a deeply engaged community, and a great example of how digitally-native IP can engage audiences through various platforms, products and experiences.” Created by Spanish contemporary artist Edgar Plans, Lil’ Heroes was launched through an NFT collaboration with Exile and NFT studio, Curatible.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Disney exec David Levine is exiting kids entertainment powerhouse Moonbug Entertainment, Deadline has learned. The well-liked exec has been Head of Studios since December 2020.
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs have been around the media business long enough to resist the temptation to overreact to Netflix’s latest travails. Even though their emerging investment firm, Candle Media, owns two key Netflix suppliers—CoComelon production company Moonbug Entertainment and Fauda producer Faraway Road—they don’t seem too concerned that Netflix may topple from its perch. (And at press time, the previously unthinkable scenario has become a lot more, well, thinkable.)
“The Coup” in partnership with AP productions. Exile also holds the IP for the character Manolito Gafotas, whose books have been translated into more than 20 languages in 22 countries.
Jennifer Maas TV Business WriterKevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has acquired Spanish-language producer Exile Content Studio.Per Candle Media, “Exile’s mission is to create content featuring the experiences and voices of diverse Spanish-speaking communities from around the world.”The company was founded in 2019 by Isaac Lee, formerly the chief content officer for Univision and Televisa. The production company specializes in feature films, scripted and unscripted television, music and audio storytelling and commerce activities for digital media.Exile, which is has its headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in Mexico City, Madrid, and Miami, will continue to be overseen by Lee and Exile’s senior management team for day-to-day operations.
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has acquired its latest company, Spanish-language content powerhouse Exile Content Studio.
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has hired seasoned executives Courtney Cappa and Kendall Ostrow as, respectively, SVP, Finance & Accounting, and SVP, Business Development & Community.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorA bright-red, child-size magical morphing creature is heading to Disney platforms.Disney Branded Television inked a deal with Moonbug Entertainment for 52 episodes of 7-minute CG series, “Morphle,” based on the YouTube short-form hit My Magic Pet Morphle. It’s the first partnership between Disney and Moonbug, whose properties include the CoComelon kids’ content juggernaut.The comedy adventure series is slated to debut in 2024 exclusively on Disney+ and Disney Junior globally, excluding China.
Axios first reported the news.
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media have struck again, announcing the purchase ATTN, a social media storytelling company for Gen Z and Millennials. Candle said today it will help provide scale, capital and expertise to accelerate ATTN’s growth as it continues “to create original content for Gen Z and Millennials across social media, network television and streaming services, in addition to growing their publishing, brand studio, creative strategy and agency services. That includes a TikTok Studio that supports brands and influencers.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorCandle Media, the next-gen media roll-up play run by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, announced the acquisition of ATTN:, a media company that produces short-form news content for Gen Z and millennial audiences.Financial terms weren’t disclosed. According to a source familiar with the pact, Candle Media is paying about $100 million for ATTN: in cash and stock; the deal could be worth up to $150 million with additional earn-out provisions.
Cynthia Littleton Business EditorInvestors are going all-in on the metaverse.That’s the prediction of Carlos Jimenez, managing director of Moelis & Co., who details his view that the entertainment business is in the midst of a massive transformation into a marketplace where entertainment, media, gaming, sports and other activities merge and often take place.“All of these worlds are colliding — it’s the future,” Jimenez, a veteran dealmaker, says on the latest episode of Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” “You’re going to have all these Gen Zers, or whatever the next generation is called, playing an E-sports tournament in the metaverse while listening to a concert inside of it. I think that’s where we’re going to end up.” It may sound futuristic but investment dollars are flowing in, Jimenez said.
Wilson Chapman editorCandle Media co-CEOs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs have been making waves in Hollywood for the past year as they hunt for content assets to acquire with the help of a bankroll from private executive giant Blackstone.The pair has mostly kept quiet about the venture, but Mayer sat down this month at the SXSW conference and festival in Austin, Texas, for a keynote session that featured his most expansive remarks to date on the new-model studio that he and Staggs are trying to build.In the conversation with MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan that was moderated by Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton, Mayer answered a number of key questions about how Candle Media intends to function — for one, it’s not a holding company nor an operating entity — and he detailed the vision for “social commerce” activity tied to such 360-media stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. “We do have a vision for a modern creator economy business,” Mayer said.
Discovery shareholders are set to OK the $43 billion merger with WarnerMedia on Friday, the last big step before AT&T completes the spinoff. Ahead of the deal’s expected close next month, a who’s-in/who’s-out parlor game is gaining intensity as CEO David Zaslav finalizes the leadership team.
Hello Sunshine has acquired The Home Edit and aims to help accelerate the household organizing outfit’s move into a lifestyle brand. Its founders Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are stars of the Emmy-nominated Netflix series , produced by Hello Sunshine, that will debut its second season this year.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorMoonbug Entertainment is expanding its kid-vid footprint by snapping up Little Angel, a big producer of YouTube videos and songs for preschoolers.Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The acquisition is Moonbug’s first since it was bought in a $3 billion deal by Candle Media, the next-generation media roll-up venture headed by former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by private-equity firm Blackstone.
Naman Ramachandran DAZN chair Kevin Mayer and Rene Rechtman, co-founder and CEO of Moonbug Entertainment, will deliver a joint keynote at this year’s in-person MipTV (Apr. 4-6). Mayer also serves as co-chair and co-CEO of Candle Media, which purchased Moonbug, the company behind the wildly popular children’s show “CoComelon” in Nov.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorNetflix has pumped billions of dollars into original programming — but overall, its library of older licensed TV shows far outperforms homegrown hits like “Squid Game” or “Bridgerton.”In 2021 on Netflix, “Criminal Minds,” the crime-drama procedural that aired on CBS from 2005-20, scored as the most-viewed TV show among U.S. streaming platforms tracked by Nielsen.The 12 seasons of “Criminal Minds” available on Netflix registered an estimated 33.9 billion minutes watched last year by American viewers, per Nielsen.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorSpotify is boosting its audio lineup for kids and families, including a new story-time show under an exclusive multiyear agreement with CoComelon, the YouTube children’s content powerhouse.The new “CoComelon Story Time” podcast — CoComelon’s first spoken-word original programming — will premiere Jan. 24 exclusively on Spotify.
UPDATED with official announcement: Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Blackstone-backed Candle Media has formally clinched its latest deal — for Faraway Road Productions, the company behind Fauda and Hit & Run.
EXCLUSIVE: Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is doubling down on podcasting.
An investment firm backed by Blackstone and run by onetime Disney colleagues Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs has taken a minority stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc.
A surge in demand for content, big companies shedding non-core assets and consolidation in digital media led to a massive rebound in entertainment M&A in 2021, ushered in by two landmark combinations in April and ending with an drumbeat of deals in December.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorThe roll-up media venture led by ex-Disney execs Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer has set its next acquisition: Faraway Road Productions, the Israeli entertainment company behind Netflix series “Fauda” and “Hit & Run,” Variety has confirmed.The deal for Tel Aviv, Israel-based Faraway — founded by and headed by Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz (pictured above) — is the third for the still-unnamed company formed by Stagg and Mayer with the backing of private-equity company
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Blackstone-backed media venture has set its next acquisition, of Faraway Road Productions, the company behind Fauda and Hit & Run, Deadline has confirmed.
Todd Spangler NY Digital EditorRené Rechtman, CEO and co-founder of Moonbug Entertainment, was gearing up to launch an IPO for his 3-year-old digital kids’ content company.But earlier this year, two of his former Disney colleagues — Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer — came calling with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Blackstone-backed company has bought Moonbug Entertainment, producer of he popular Netflix children’s program “CoComelon,” it was announced Thursday.
The media venture run by Disney alums Kevin Mayer and Tom Stags and backed by private equity firm Blackstone has acquired Moonbug Entertainment, maker of popular kids shows like CoComelon.
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