SANTA MONICA, CA., April 17, 2012 – Penn Schoen Berland, a global strategic communications consultancy firm, has acquired First Movies International (“First Movies”) which has operations in both London and Los Angeles. Both Penn Schoen Berland and First Movies provide marketing research and consulting to Hollywood studios and other entertainment clients. The acquisition complements Penn Schoen Berland’s fast-growing media and entertainment practice by giving it a larger geographic footprint and an increased capability to service the expanding global marketing research needs of its Hollywood studio clients.
The First Movies team will now report to Jon J. Penn, Penn Schoen Berland’s President of Media and Entertainment. David Willing, the co-founder of First Movies, will serve as acting Managing Director of First Movies.
Founded in 2000, First Movies is a research-based strategic consultancy that serves film clients on a global basis. First Movies clients include many of the major film studios, independent distributors, production companies and industry affiliates. The business employs research consultants in the US and UK and key partners include Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.
Penn Schoen Berlandwas founded in 1975 as a political polling firm and has helped elect numerous political leaders, including President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Prime Minister Tony Blair. With 10 offices worldwide, Penn Schoen Berland has become a global leader in corporate communications consulting and has taken the best practices from political and corporate advertising campaigns to the entertainment world.Penn Schoen Berland’sMedia and Entertainment practice was founded in 2001 and is the fastest growing unit of the firm working with most of the major Hollywood studios, video game, and magazine publishers.
“I am very excited that First Movies, with their deep understanding of the international moviegoer, will become part of Penn Schoen Berland’s entertainment practice,” said Mark J. Penn, the CEO of Penn Schoen Berland and the global PR firm Burson-Marsteller. “It is essential that our entertainment clients, like our corporate clients, have a finger on the pulse of their consumers in every corner of the globe.”
As a combined entity, Penn Schoen Berland and First Movies will provide an end-to-end solution handlingthe full spectrum of consumer market research needs across the world, including franchise management, green-light research, marketing positioning, test screenings, focus groups, creative advertising testing, box office tracking, exits, and home entertainment.
“First Movies strength in qualitative and playability research combined with our quantitative and marketability expertise will provide our clients with high-level consultation through all stages of a film’s global lifecycle. The time is now for a more sophisticated, integrated research framework for launching and managing global franchises and marketing campaigns based on insights gleaned from next-generation methods,” says Jon J. Penn, President of Media and Entertainment at Penn Schoen Berland.
“This is truly a perfect fit,” comments David Willing, Managing Director of First Movies, “As the entertainment industry evolves and assignments become more global this move ensures First Movies can offer high-level service to its entertainment clients on a worldwide stage. Penn Schoen Berland’s growth moves into the international arena which isexactly what our combined client base needs. Both companies share many similar clients and working practices. I look forward pushing out this greater offering.”
This acquisition continues WPP’s strategy of investing in important and fast-growing markets and sectors.