Ron Bloom, chairman and CEO of video site Mevio.com, and producer Gene Kirkwood are in Cannes talking up their new venture, BiteSize Entertainment. The vertically integrated studio that’s setting up shop at Hollywood & Vine will produce franchise content for the Web and other platforms including feature films. Among the films being developed are a biopic of former Rupert Murdoch lieutenant Rebekah Brooks. Kirkwood tells me he’s optioned the Vanity Fair artcle Untangling Rebekah Brooks as a basis. A press release on BiteSize follows:
Cannes, France – May 18, 2012 — In a major announcement bringing Hollywood and Silicon Valley even closer together, MEVIO Chairman and CEO Ron Bloom today announced the formation of BiteSize Entertainment – a modern, vertically integrated entertainment studio that spans multiple platforms, while tapping into one of Hollywood’s most established power sources to fortify the new venture and advance the development, production and distribution landscape.
Legendary, Academy Award® winning producer Gene Kirkwood (“Rocky,” “New York, New York,” “Pope of Greenwich Village,” “The Idolmaker”) and producing partner Ross Elliot will fold their newly created Kirkwood-Elliot Productions banner into BiteSize Entertainment to serve as the exclusive feature film production arm of the new company, providing a pipeline of commercial movies for wide theatrical release.
Bloom has piloted Mevio.com into one of the fastest growing entertainment sites on the web, producing and distributing a broad slate of premium quality short-form entertainment shows viewed by millions every month. The company is profitable and is on pace to deliver over 1 billion streams per month by the end of 2012. Mevio is backed by a stellar lineup of venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, Sherpalo Ventures, DAG Ventures and Crosslink Capital. With the rollout of BiteSize Entertainment, Bloom is now heading to Hollywood, focusing on building the definitive brand in global entertainment, with franchises that extend across all formats from short form to feature length programming.
To help execute this strategy, Bloom has tapped the talent and resources of Kirkwood-Elliot Productions, an independent film production company now operating within BiteSize Entertainment. Bloom and Kirkwood, along with Ross Elliot, have structured the company to serve as a top-tier supplier of commercial projects for both the studios and major independent distributors worldwide, as well as a conduit for the development of “born on the web” franchises. The company will initially produce 4-6 higher budgeted commercial feature films a year as well as a unique slate of “micro-budgeted” theatre-quality features.
Kirkwood-Elliot has optioned the rights to the Vanity Fair article Untangling Rebekah Brooks by Suzanna Andrews and are now developing a feature film on Brooks.
The company has also partnered with Odenkirk-Provissiero Entertainment and Mary Jane Skalski in the production of “Girlfriends Day,” a dark comedy starring and directed by Bob Odenkirk with Bryan Cranston, David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, David Koechner, and Fred Armisen attached to play lead roles. Written by Odenkirk and Eric Hoffman, “Girlfriends Day” is expected to shoot later this summer.
Kirkwood-Elliot is producing the dramedy “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” – the story of Noel Coward’s historic two weeks at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas in 1955.
The team is also working to create a new format of what Bloom refers to as “cross-platform programming” which will center on theatrical while utilizing the broad online entertainment network that Mevio has already built.
“We are witnessing the emergence of the first new platform for entertainment distribution and consumption in the last 100 years. But Hollywood has barely begun to take advantage of it”, said Ron Bloom. “But just as Silicon Valley was the center of the social network revolution, I believe Hollywood will be the epicenter of this entertainment revolution. With BiteSize, we are combining Silicon Valley startup prowess with Hollywood creative genius… reshaping the nature and format of entertainment from short form to feature length.”
Said Kirkwood, “Welcome to the new era of the entertainment entrepreneur. Its not just about the internet. Its about reaching a new type of audience, and finding better ways to entertain them. With BiteSize we are combining the best of Hollywood with a new economic and distribution model that brings talent closer to the bottom line. We look forward to forming important and successful alliances with filmmakers, actors and distributors around the globe.”
BiteSize Entertainment will be based in Los Angeles, with satellite production offices in New York, Miami, and London and a technology center in San Francisco.
This company broke ground this week on its new state-of-the-art studio at the W Hotel on Hollywood Blvd in the heart of Hollywood. The BiteSize studio is expected to be operational in just 90 days.