Producer Will Packer has partnered with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures to form Will Packer Media, a production and branded content company focused on TV and digital scripted and unscripted series, branded content as well as short-form entertainment tergeting millennial audiences. Packer will serve as CEO of Will Packer Media, which will have offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta..
As a key part of the Discovery Communications investment, OWN and Will Packer have entered a first-look deal for scripted series.
OWN has been beefing up its roster of scripted series talent in light of the pending end of its longterm deal with prolific producer Tyler Perry. The network recently picked up a new series from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.
“We are creating a new model for content production that sees TV and digital as equals, and combines the best of storytelling and brands for an underserved audience,” Packer said.
Will Packer Media will be separate from Packer’s Will Packer Productions, which has a first-look film production deal at Universal Pictures and will continue to operate as a separate entity.
“As the media industry continues its rapid transformation, and as younger, more diverse viewers seek to be nourished by content across all screens, it’s more important than ever to have a direct line to the most creative minds in the business,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.
Added Jeff Shell, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, “Will is a creative genius and one of Universal’s most important partners within our film studio.”
In one of its first moves, Will Packer Media has acquired creative and technology agency Narrative_, which will form a core part of the new company. Co-founded by Tricia Clarke-Stone and Russell Simmons, Narrative_ develops marketing campaigns for blue-chip brands and start-ups including Under Armour, JCPenney, Samsung and Santo Mezquila, and creates technology products to help brands build deeper connections with consumers. The firm recently received a Webby, and was shortlisted for a Cannes Lion Award for its campaign for Showtime’s Billions.
Clarke-Stone has been named Will Packer Media’s Head of Brand Studio, leading all brand initiatives. Alix Baudin, most recently SVP and GM of Digital Operations at Scripps Networks Interactive, has joined the new company as Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing day-to-day operations, growth strategy and digital initiatives.
“Our goal is to be the leading storytelling company focused on our core demographic of New American Mainstream audiences across multiple devices and platforms,” said Baudin.
Packer’s films have earned more than $1 billion, with nine opening at No. 1 at the boxoffice. He was repped in the deal by CAA and attorneys Matthew Johnson and Michael Eisner.