WME and IMG’s film and scripted television finance and sales groups have been brought together under Endeavor Content, a label that will be steered by co-presidents and WME partners Graham Taylor and Chris Rice. The move comes a week after WME | IMG revived the Endeavor label as a holding company, bringing back the name of the agency steered by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell that merged with WMA eight years ago. WME will continue to be the name of the talent agency, said insiders.
Negeen Yazdi, president of International Acquisitions at The Weinstein Company who oversaw such films as The Imitation Game, Lion and Woman in Gold, has joined Endeavor Content as senior vice president, film. Joe Hipps, who had been SVP Television for MRC and oversaw House of Cards and Ozark, has joined as senior vice president, television.
Endeavor Content partners Mark Ankner, Liesl Copland and Alexis Garcia continue to lead the group’s advisory practice for financiers and content companies. Current WME Global and IMG entertainment sales team employees are transitioning under the Endeavor Content banner. Also under that banner as an autonomous division will be Bloom, the foreign sales company run by Ken Kao and Alex Walton; WME | IMG bought a controlling interest in the venture in late August. Gary Marenzi continues to lead international TV sales for Endeavor Content, aligned with the IMG media sales infrastructure that has over 200 staffers in 25 countries.
According to Taylor and Rice, Endeavor Content will be staffed by 30 agents and executives, 50 overall with support staff included. They said gross sales from film and TV will reach $300 million this year, and that they have financed, packaged and/or sold over 100 films and TV shows in the past year.
“This gives Chris and I a clearly directed strategy as we manage these different pieces,” Taylor told Deadline. “We’re trying to build a systemic change to the business and how we identify, source, develop, package and finance content, and try to effectively continue to shift the power and put it in the hands of the artists. All the major agencies have good transaction businesses and so do we. But we’ve built so many companies, raised capital, built content; we have a monster advisory practice with financiers, content companies and funds. This evolving world continues to be a Rubik’s Cube, and we believe we’ve built out the most dynamic sales business that gives our clients the ability to solve it and own it.”
Rice said the move “provides clarity, and a more clearly directed strategy to empower artists and content creators by pulling together this platform that has so many complementary pieces. The businesses Graham and I operated under, including WME, IMG, IMG China and the recently acquired Bloom, this is about pulling the pieces into one clear platform that client creators and producers can use to finance and sell their content.”
Bloom will operate as a stand-alone company under the Endeavor Content label. “None of these moves is prescriptive,” Taylor said. “We will still do business with foreign sales companies and studios.”
The goal is more control. “One area of importance will be to use all this to leverage diversity, inclusiveness, social action,” Taylor said. “The companies we are investing in right now and raising funds form, will demonstrate shortly how we intent to change the social conversation.”