FilmRise Gets Digital Rights to BuzzFeed Studios Brand Portforlio

FilmRise, the New York City-based film, television studio and streaming network, has acquired worldwide digital media rights to a library of content from the BuzzFeed Studios portfolio of brands.    

The library spans over 1,200 hours of content, which includes “Hot Ones,” the Emmy Award nominated and Streamy Award-winning series featuring host Sean Evans interviewing ‘A’-list celebrities over a plate of increasingly spicy wings. “Hot Ones” originally launched in 2015 on YouTube and immediately became a viral sensation.

Other titles in the library include “BuzzFeed Unsolved: True Crime” and “BuzzFeed Unsolved: Supernatural,” “Worth It” and more.

The announcement was made jointly today by Jonitha Keymoore, VP of Global Content Acquisitions at FilmRise, and Nick Wang, SVP of Business Development and Partnerships at BuzzFeed Studio     .

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“BuzzFeed and Complex carry a library of content that taps into the zeitgeist of today’s culture by taking an innovative perspective to traditional formats, whether that be the unique way ‘Hot Ones’ approaches the classic talk show format or ‘BuzzFeed Unsolved’ takes on the true crime genre,” Jonitha Keymoore of FilmRise said in a statement. “These titles already have a strong audience following and now, we are thrilled to bring them to everyone, worldwide.”

“This deal with FilmRise marks a milestone for our series and our studio,” Nick Wang from BuzzFeed Studios said in a statement. “We’re excited to expand the footprint of our series to audience across digital platforms around the globe.”

Genius Brands Inks Deal With Buzzfeed for Longform Series

Genius Brands International, through its Frederator Network subsidiary (a division of WOW! Unlimited Media), has announced an exclusive content deal with digital media company BuzzFeed.

The deal provides Genius Brands’ Frederator Network the exclusive opportunity and first right to develop and produce longform series based on original digital properties created by the BuzzFeed Animation Lab. 

“Weird Helga”

The first short-form content  for series development by Frederator will be “The Land of Boggs,” a zany buddy comedy that currently boasts more than 10 million followers. Other content under consideration for long-form development includes “The Good Advice Cupcake,” an aggressively optimistic pastry touting more than 6 million followers; the lowbrow sister comedy “Weird Helga,” with more than 9 million followers; and the gender inclusive series “Chikn Nuggit,” with more than 7 million followers.

Frederator Studios will serve as the global content sales agent, headed by director of development Isabel Schultz, and Genius Brands’ consumer products’ division will develop the retail program for the slate of IP, spearheaded by chief brand officer Kerry Phelan, and in close partnership with BuzzFeed.

“Our partnership with BuzzFeed offers Frederator a tremendous opportunity to expand on the creativity of their animation lab to further develop their original IP into long-form series for global audiences,” Michael Hirsh, CEO of WOW! Unlimited Media, parent company of Frederator Network, said in a statement. “BuzzFeed is considered the most-watched digital publisher with billions of global content views and nearly 30 million dedicated BuzzFeed Animation Lab fans, which gives us a huge audience and ability to promote each series to a highly-engaged fan base.” 

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“The BuzzFeed Animation Lab has seen huge success and explosive growth for our animated properties, and we are thrilled to partner with Frederator Studios for development,” Zee Myers, head of BuzzFeed Animation Lab, said in a statement. “They have an unparalleled track record in the industry and are the perfect shepherds to take our animated properties into a new format and expand our audience.”

Lionsgate Cuts Deal With BuzzFeed for Millennial, Gen Z Films

Lionsgate and indie digital media company BuzzFeed on July 28 announced a new partnership to develop, produce and distribute a multi-picture slate of “socially relevant and high-concept feature films for global millennial and Gen Z audiences,” according to a press release.

As part of the partnership, Lionsgate will greenlight full-length feature films to be produced with BuzzFeed, each with unique, primarily digital, distribution strategies.

Lionsgate says the partnership will tap into a wide range of talent, from award-winning filmmakers to new voices. With a number of films in development, Lionsgate and BuzzFeed will focus on films based on original BuzzFeed IP as well as projects designed to tap into BuzzFeed’s communities.

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“We are thrilled to collaborate with BuzzFeed to expand our digital footprint with a slate of original films that speak to their highly engaged audience,” said Lauren Bixby, Lionsgate’s VP of acquisitions and co-productions. “With our innovative marketing strategy and agile distribution teams, combined with BuzzFeed’s impressive and extensive global reach, the partnership will allow two entrepreneurial companies to work together to develop some great IP.”

“This exciting partnership with Lionsgate marks a new chapter for BuzzFeed and our studio endeavors,” said Richard Alan Reid, SVP of global content and film at BuzzFeed. “We are expanding our strategy to include long-form content, with a slate that celebrates identity, diversity and youth culture, and concepts that highlight themes and characters not typically at the center of pop movies.”

According to the press release, research shows that 73% of the BuzzFeed audience make TV and film choices based on BuzzFeed’s content recommendations. The motion picture development process will be informed by data and insights generated by feedback from BuzzFeed’s audience. “Lionsgate’s day-and-date release model and flexible distribution capabilities provide the joint effort invaluable market experience in presenting  groundbreaking films that will appeal to young adult audiences around the world,” the press release stated.

Jason Moring and Michael Philip of production company CR8IV DNA will act as consultants.

Lionsgate and BuzzFeed plan to launch their first co-production in 2021.

Lionsgate’s Studio L Digital Content Arm Announces Slate

Lionsgate Feb. 22 announced the first slate of feature films from its digital content business branded Studio L.

The studio’s initial slate is scheduled for release this spring.

“Each project reflects Studio L’s focus on content targeting millennial audiences in partnership with leading brands and digital platforms as well as distinctive creative voices,” according to the studio’s press release.

Studio L EVP Seth Laderman runs Lionsgate’s digital studio content initiatives under the oversight of Lionsgate Television Group COO Laura Kennedy. Studio L develops, finances, produces and distributes premium and targeted feature film and episodic content, primarily in the digital space.

Due May 11 is the coming-of-age, female-driven drama The Honor List, starring Meghan Rienks (“Freakish,” “Mr. Student Body President”), Sasha Pieterse (“Pretty Little Liars,” Inherent Vice), Karrueche Tran (“Claws,” The Bay) and Arden Cho (“Teen Wolf”). It is the debut release of newly-launched Popsugar Films, the film unit of Popsugar, which generates more than 3 billion content views monthly.

Coming May 1 is the feature Most Likely to Murder, premiering at South by Southwest and starring Adam Pally (“Happy Endings,” “The Mindy Project”), Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) and Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”) in a home-for-the-holidays noir-comedy. The film’s production team of Dan Gregor and Doug Mand has written for the hit shows “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

In partnership with new media network Brat, Studio L will release the network’s first feature, Chicken Girls: The Movie, an extension of the popular YouTube sensation, which has generated nearly 100 million views. The title will be released later in the spring.

Other Studio L projects include a followup to the film Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland, based on the Lionsgate TV series; a series based on Lionsgate’s horror classic The Blair Witch Project; a series based on the Lionsgate comedy Waiting; and film production partnerships with BuzzFeed and The Onion.

“In today’s fast-changing media landscape, Lionsgate is committed to creating and distributing various types of content for next generation audiences with some of the most exciting creative voices and innovative partners in our industry,” said Laderman in a statement. “The projects announced today signal our commitment to finding stand-out material, incubating new talent, and delivering authentic storytelling. We will also continue to cultivate and foster fresh opportunities with existing Lionsgate properties, all built around Studio L’s low-risk, high-reward distribution model.”