Vincent Bruzzese, the former chief executive at OTX and Motion Picture Group, will head new entertainment research firm C4, launched by film producers D. Todd Shepherd and George Waud of Miscellaneous Entertainment and film producer and financier Michael Benaroya.
Joining Bruzzese at C4 are research experts and former MPG executives Kristen Simmons, Rich Fineza, Miriam Brin, Wade Young and Rob Siegel. Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo, will also back the new research company. (Shepherd, Benaroya and Bruzzese from left in photo above).
Clients will include major studios, production companies, cable channels and film funds, all of which are wrestling with the intersection of traditional tracking and market research and the explosion of digital data.
“I’ve been in the research game for 15 years, and one thing is certain: Hollywood has been woefully behind in terms of evolving and understanding consumers in this new digital era,” Bruzzese told TheWrap. “It’s always been a goal of mine to crack that code, and with Todd and Michael and the resources we have, I think we have an unbelievable opportunity to help this industry evolve.”
Shepherd, who with Waud also founded film and sales distribution company International Film Trust about a year ago, said that the intent was to bring a Silicon Valley sensibility and approach to the entertainment research space. “Sort of big data meets the big screen,” he said.
“We and Hollywood in general are making decisions on the production side that involve millions of dollars, and it only makes financial sense to have as much information as possible to mitigate that risk,” Shepherd said. “We anticipate a time in the next few years in that it will be seen as irresponsible not to go through this kind of process when you launch a production.”
Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment, both former clients of Bruzzese’s MPG, are on board.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what C4 will bring to the research table to up the ante with respect to sampling efforts, data quality, survey interface, new technologies, and advanced analytics.” said Lewis Oberlander, senior vice-president of worldwide market research at Warner Bros. Pictures.
While the studios’ theatrical releases will be a big part of C4’s focus, it hopes to draw upon a broad base of clients in various sectors. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, another former MPG client, would be an example.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Vinny and his team at C4, as we look to better understand how media impacts gender roles in the U.S. and around the world,” Davis said. “Their support and research acumen continue to be invaluable to our efforts.”