LOS ANGELES, September 16, 2014 – Award-winning filmmakers Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia, and Jake Avnet today announced the launch of Indigenous Media. The new venture’s principal investors are WPP, theworld's leading communications services group, and ITV, the largest commercial broadcast network in the UKand largest independent unscripted producer in the US. Jon Miller, former CEO of Digital Media for News Corp, will serve as non-executive Chairman. Steven Tisch, Advancit Capital (Shari Redstone, Jon Miller and Jason Ostheimer), Michael Price and Dr. Aaron Stern are additional investors.
Building upon the success of the critically-acclaimed female-centric WIGS model, which has the FOX Broadcasting Company as its marketing and distribution partner, Indigenous Media will produce original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide, as well as develop new multi-platform content brands. The focus will be on scripted half-hour and hour-long series, as well as a variety of other formats.
Director/producersAvnet (Black Swan, Justified, Fried Green Tomatoes, Risky Business), Garcia (Albert Nobbs, In Treatment, Big Love, Last Days in the Desert), and Jake Avnet have won Oscar®, Emmy® and Tony® Awards for their work. They bring well established relationships to the new company as they did for WIGS, which brought an unprecedented level of traditional talent to digital both in front of and behind the camera, including such actors as Julia Stiles, Jennifer Beals, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Anna Paquin, Maggie Grace and Alfred Molina, and writers/directors Marta Kauffman, Betty Thomas, Lesli Linka Glatter, Paul Brickman, and Neil LaBute.
WPP and ITV will contribute advertising and distribution expertise, allowing Indigenous Media to focus on creating content that will attract brand sponsorships, and global distribution on multiple platforms.
“Shortly after the launch of WIGS, Peter Tortorici approached us with his vision for the potential of scripted content on digital platforms. We agreed and now are working to scale this model with our new investors,” said Jon Avnet.
Garcia added: “We are thrilled about collaborating with Paul Buccieri and his ITV colleagues to create new opportunities for top-notch writers and directors to tell their stories in this exciting new world."
“As digital media continues to evolve and new models for content creation and distribution emerge and proliferate, the ability to create high value content in new and efficient ways will ever be more critical. Jon, Rodrigo and Jake have been first movers in executing at the highest levels of scripted content in this space and have the means, relationships and commitment to take their efforts to scale. We look forward to helping them get there,” said Peter Tortorici, CEO GroupM Entertainment Global. GroupM Entertainment, part of the WPP's wholly-owned media investment management company GroupM, oversees intellectual property development, financing, production and distribution with a global portfolio of well over 120 properties. It also provides support to WPP’s other content and channel related investments.
Paul Buccieri, Chairman of ITV Studios US Group and ITV Studios Global Entertainment, added, “Indigenous is a forward looking, multi-platform provider of premium content, and as such, is a perfect strategic fit for ITV.”
WIGS will continue to operate its partnership with FOX Broadcasting and Indigenous Media will contribute additional financing for future productions.
”We’ve been impressed with Jon and Rodrigo’s ability to tell compelling stories and the intensity of consumer appetite for the series on FOX verticals, Hulu, and YouTube,” said Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, Senior Vice President of Multi-Platform Programming for FOX. “We are fired up to be supporting WIGS in its next phase of growth.”
WIGS is an award-winning channel offering high-end original series, short films, and documentaries, all starring female leads. Popular series on the WIGS channel, which are also available on watchwigs.com, Hulu, and FOXNOW, include Blue, about a mother with a secret life, starring Julia Stiles; Lauren, a narrative about the complications stemming from a military rape, starring Troian Bellisario and Jennifer Beals; Serena, a story of lust, temptation and forbidden love, starring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina; Jan, about a young woman whose first job goes awry, starring Virginia Madsen, Stephen Moyer and Caitlin Gerard and Susanna, starring Maggie Grace and Anna Paquin, which addressed post-partum depression. WIGS has been recognized by The Webbys, Streamy’s, IAWTV, and Writers Guild of America, among others.
Additional WIGS offerings have included such actors as Alison Pill, Dakota Fanning, Jimmy Wolk, Allison Janney, Walton Goggins, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall, Sarah Jones, Jason Isaacs, Catherine O'Hara, Chris Messina, Lois Smith, Gary Cole, Jena Malone, Gary Dourdan, Sarah Paulson and Eric Balfour. Writers and directors include Rose Troche, Mitch Albom, Ami Canaan Mann, Scott Turow, Amy Lippman, Leah Rachel, Mattie Brickman, Patricia Cardoso, Mykelti Williamson and Lee Krieger.
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) served as the advisor on the transaction to Indigenous.
About Indigenous Media
Indigenous Media is a next generation media company focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide, as well as developing and operating new multi-platform content brands. Founders are filmmakers Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia, and Jake Avnet. The company is headquartered in Culver City, CA. For more information, visit indigenousmedia.com.