UTA and indie studio Media Rights Capital parent Valence Media unveiled plans Wednesday to launch Civic Center Media, a joint venture that will develop, produce and finance premium TV series. The aim will be to give the talent agency’s clients access to resources for development and production via MRC, which has produced and/or financed series including Netflix’s House of Cards and Ozark and Starz’s Counterpart among others.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it gives UTA a minority stake in Civic Center Media. The arrangement is non-exclusive for UTA and MRC, the companies said, meaning Civic Center will look to develop projects with artists repped by all agencies. UTA will continue to work with all studios, and MRC will continue to develop and acquire projects from all agencies.
The search is underway to find and exec to head the joint venture.
“As we looked at the landscape of potential partners and content models, our priority was to work with a studio that puts artists and creators first,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a release announcing the tie-up, which differs from other agencies’ in-house production model. “MRC shares our ‘artist first’ mentality and our belief that the time has come for a new business model that offers more creative control and ownership opportunities to artists. They have one of the best track records in our industry and will bring superb infrastructure and resources to the projects we create. As new distribution platforms fundamentally change the economics of our business and tilt the balance of power towards creators, there is no better partner for us and our clients.”
The companies said the joint venture will offer more streamlined overhead and processes, and therefore more attractive terms — financial and creative — to partners who bring projects to the studio, especially on the back end if successful.
“We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with UTA for more than 15 years,” said Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu, co-CEOs of Valence Media. “UTA sees the opportunities both within and beyond the traditional studio system and prioritizes new business models that protect and advance artists. Even more, they have always had deep passion and an uncanny eye for identifying gifted talent and groundbreaking creators. We’re excited to build this venture with them.”
Valence Media was formed in February with the combination of MRC, dick clark productions, The Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, and a minority interest in A24.