Ben Howard, who worked at Sony and Provident Films, is launching an independent production company — Third Coast Content — dedicated to producing content for faith and family audiences. Howard will serve as CEO for the new venture, which will span feature films, TV and publishing. Endeavor Content, who is an investor in Third Coast Content, will provide sales and advisory services for the company.
There is no doubt that there is an appetite for faith-based content. This comes as the genre has seen tremendous growth starting with the 2014 breakout hit God’s Not Dead, a $2M-budgeted film that grossed $60.8M and launched a faith-based franchise. Heaven Is for Real, which Sony put into production with Randall Wallace at the helm, was yet another breakout hit, racking up $101.3M worldwide on a modest budget. The genre has drawn increased interest from major studios, distributors and top talent and filmmakers.
Howard was at Provident, whose partnerships include the Kendrick Brothers, whose films really made Hollywood sit up and take notice with Fireproof in 2008 and Courageous in 2011 until the success of God’s Not Dead put the industry into motion.
Provident also has relationships with the Erwin Brothers (Woodlawn, Moms’ Night Out) and Kirk Cameron. Nashville-based Provident Music Group is a division of Sony Music Entertainment. Likewise, Third Coast Content will be based in Nashville, where WME also has an office that represents many leading musicians in the faith and family space.
“Ben has built a tremendous business in the faith and family space, supporting Endeavor Content’s continued mission to invest in content that is underserved,” said Endeavor Content Co-Presidents Graham Taylor and Chris Rice.
Howard most recently was EVP of Provident Films, running the company since its formation in 2005. During his tenure he led Provident’s participation in some of the biggest box office hits in the faith and family space, including Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, October Baby, Mom’s Night Out and War Room.
Howard began his career in film and television at Big Idea Productions, where he led home entertainment marketing and founded its music division, helping shepherd the VeggieTales brand across various forms of media.