Of the digital production companies born during the heyday that followed the YouTube Channels Initiative, not many have thrived, especially given economic models in original video have struggled to match those in television.
Among those early entrants is Endemol Shine Beyond, the digital arm for the largest independent global production company Endemol Shine. Beyond, despite having been well funded with upwards of $40 million to start, struggled under its first leader Will Keenan, who became known for erratic and bombastic behavior.
And now, just over 3 years later, with Yahoo! alum and former Maker Studios EVP of Programming Bonnie Pan at the helm, Endemol Shine Beyond is doubling down on development, trimming the owned and operated properties set up by Keenan, and staffing up its creative team. The business has also shuttered its media sales and branded entertainment and has parted ways with Todd Barrish and Doug Bandes as a result. Both roles were responsible for selling brand deals across its co-venture owned and operated sites with Pitbull and Michelle Phan, among others. Those efforts will now be of secondary focus, if at all.
The changes come at a “really interesting moment in time [for Endemol Shine Beyond] and because we have the support of the largest independent production company in the world we have this opportunity to really push forward in a meaningful way,” Pan told VideoInk at her new office in North Hollywood, which is also being fitted with full service production facilities.
Inside Endemol Shine Beyond’s Development Slate
“As [television and digital] merge we need to be specific about what we are and what [Endemol] excel[s] at. We excel at creating big, high quality formats” said Pan, who is now charged with creating formats akin to what’s worked at Endemol Shine, and using Endemol’s existing IP to reimagine new digital iterations. Endemol’s successful franchises include “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Black Mirror” and “Peaky Blinders.”
“[We want to] make things that matter, that people will enjoy and that have longevity.” And Pan’s team is already underway on a handful of unscripted projects including docu-series, music-related content, scripted comedies and virtual reality.
Beyond’s new slate includes “Music Mayhem” with famed music video director Dave Meyers that unravels the behind the scenes drama of making a music video, “Capturing Everest” with Sports Illustrated and female-driven scripted comedy “Porn Moms” —a series about a group of moms who secretly pen porn stories. Also in development are several unscripted projects in virtual reality created with Lauren Selig and Peter Martin (“Capturing Everest”) and multiple unscripted projects with music video production designer Alexander Delgado.
“We’re continuing to invest in our relationships in the creative space,” says Pan on Beyond’s approach to collaboration with various directors and creative talent interested in producing for digital. “For us, right now, to bring next level quality creativity, we need to invest in our creative team and beef up our creator relations so that we are the ones that break through.”
And so she’s hired two new senior execs — Courtney Andresen (pictured) as VP of Creative Strategy and Kyle Moss as VP of Development. Andresen will oversee strategy and production for Beyond’s current scripted and non-scripted projects while Moss will lead on development for all projects in VR, scripted and non-scripted going forward.
And Beyond’s team will work on selling those projects to the major digital and linear networks like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube Red, Verizon’s go90 and Comcast’s Watchable, in addition to the traditional networks.
To that end, the line between Pan’s business and its parent Endemol Shine becomes murky, but Pan is assured that the team synergy between the television and digital sides of the company remains.
“I believe we have an opportunity to make an impact for the entire industry.”