For his second act — well, ish — Ryan Kavanaugh would like to reintroduce a stock exchange of sorts for Hollywood films.
The film producer and financier, who shirked his vow that he was staying out of Hollywood following Relativity Media’s collapse, laid out his vision for his new company Proxima Media and its recent pact with China’s National Arts Studio, a physical studio boasting a 100-square-mile ranch an hour from Hong Kong.
Kavanaugh said they’ll produce and release movies for now, but in about five-years time he hopes it will operate more like an entertainment stock exchange for studios. The idea is that fans and movie consumers, not financiers, will be able to buy into a film when it’s announced — say, pay $50 or so and get exclusive gifts and access, while the studio raises money for a film.
“Last year I think it was $1.6 billion, or $2 billion went into crowdfunding. What’d they get? A hat. Now, it’s ‘I get to own a piece of that movie,'” Kavanaugh said during the opening spotlight conversation at The Grill, TheWrap’s annual business, tech and entertainment conference on Wednesday.
“Our numbers say probably two to three million people will participate in each IPO. They’re not going to be financial investors; these will be fans, moviegoers,” he continued. “It’s a really simple concept. The studio announces a movie and you have anywhere between, worldwide — if it’s a franchise — 80 to 100 million people read about that movie, and right there it’ll say ‘Would you like to own a piece of this movie?'”
For the studios, Kavanaugh said, not only is it a new way to finance films; in theory, they also gain those roughly two to three million audience members investing in their films. Part of his plan includes incentivizing fans to also sell tickets to movies they’re invested in.
“I believe they’ll participate in it both to get equity and as a marketing tool… Netflix’s biggest advantage is that they get to have a one-on-one with the consumer, to a certain extent — they get the data,” Kavanaugh said. “For us, because we’re interacting in real time with the consumers as a movie is greenlit… it gives the studios the ability to interact in real time.”
“What we’re doing is what I really started at, and should have focused on throughout my career. We started in financial products in entertainment, which is something there was none of,” he added. “I used to joke around that we were the bridge between Hollywood and Wall Street because literally I could put a banker and a studio head together and they were not speaking the same language.”