Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Turns 10: The CEO on Succeeding Despite Predictions and What’s Next (Video)

TheWrap brings its Grill interview to you with the first in a series

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 9:49 AM

As Ryan Kavanaugh‘s Relativity Media celebrates its 10th anniversary, TheWrap sat down to grill the energetic founder and CEO about the evolution of the company and where he plans to take it next.

Why did he start Relativity? “It originally came from seeing a void between producers needing to connect to capital. It started purely on a financial basis. People in Hollywood and on Wall Street didn’t talk the same language, so it started with that,” Kavanaugh said.

Named for Kavanaugh’s passion for science, Relativity has gone from a financing entity partnered with studios on slate deals to a full-on distribution company, with divisions in sports, music, television and digital. Kavanaugh spoke to Wrap founder Sharon Waxman about his recent interest in buying Fullscreen, one of the largest multi-channel networks, and about drumming inefficiencies out of the traditional Hollywood studio system.

Also see excerpt:  Ryan Kavanaugh: I’m Not Interested in Fullscreen Content At All (Exclusive Video)

Kavanaugh says: “There was so much inefficiency, let’s apply basic principles and do it a little bit better, more efficiently.”

Kavanaugh says they make smaller movies, finance them through foreign output deals, spend far less than major studios on marketing and then sell DVDs to targeted audiences. “Where we shine on our movies is in everything besides box office,” he says.

Relativity’s sports agency business, Kavanaugh says, is now bigger than CAA’s, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group, which he has built by placing athletes in his movies, among other services.

He also has a branded content agency which signed Evian as a client and put it into Seven-Eleven stores. “With Evian we said if you sell the Evian here, we’ll give you walk-on parts in movies, athletes will show up here and sign, you’ll get signed scripts you can come to the premiere – that’s growing pretty fast.”

Also readRyan Kavanaugh’s 9 Lives: $200M Loan From Ron Burkle Saves ‘Immortals’ (Exclusive)

Enjoy TheGrill – part of a new video series tied to TheWrap’s annual conference.


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