Wizard World, a producer of live event pop culture expositions, has pulled off what its brain trust feels is a real coup. WW has partnered with CNLive and has been given license by the Chinese government to distribute streamed content via mobile and IP-enabled devices across China, including Macao and Hong Kong. They are only one of seven entities able to distribute streaming programming in China, and shortly they will align with an anchor partner studio in Hollywood to license English language programming content.
The channel programmed by Wizard World China will be the first English language channel carried by CNLive, which will be a 24/7 enterprise.
“This partnership with CNLive is a landmark achievement for Wizard World as we extend our brand into content production and distribution both domestically and across international borders,” said John D. Maatta, Wizard World President & CEO. “As we continue to produce entertaining, engaging and valuable content in the pop culture space, this agreement will allow many millions of additional fans to engage with our brand, unlocking the large, growing market of China, a region which has shown a strong affinity for such programming. It is our intention with the launch of ‘WizPop’, our daily pop culture news service, and the re-imagination of Wizard Magazine to continue forward as the definitive voice of international pop culture focused on the worlds of motion pictures, television, music, comics and gaming. All of this is in addition to our growing live event pop culture exposition business which will produce 22 shows in North America in 2017. We have created a pop culture ecosystem where fans of our hugely-popular live event business can receive Wizard content all day everyday. We are striving to serve our fan base at live events and across numerous media platforms.”
Maataa told Deadline they will quickly acquire content with the intention of being up and running by the end of first quarter 2018. “It will be ad supported and not subscription, with an emphasis on classic U.S. television that is familiar to us but new to China,” he said. “It is a very good opportunity for programmers and for us, and we’re already engaged in pretty massive discussions that are underway. It is a unique pipeline where there is a high barrier of entry.”
They’ve added Jordan Schur and Greg Suess to the board as the company moves squarely into original content creation.