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Kaplan Agency bets on digital

Names Alec Shankman to co-head of department

The Kaplan Stahler Agency is betting big on growth in alternative programming and digital media.

The tenpercentery has expanded that department with the appointment of Alec Shankman, who will serve as co-head of alternative/digital media along with Sean Zeid.

Shankman comes to Kaplan Stahler after spend three years as CEO of GotCast, a social media-based talent scouting service for reality TV. Before that, he ran the reality division of Abrams Artists Agency for six years. Zeid joined Kaplan Stahler four years ago from Endeavor.

The fact that a boutique like Kaplan Stahler is focusing more resources outside the scripted film and TV world is a sign of where percenters see business growth opportunities. “With Alec we really saw an opportunity to beef up our activities on the talent and digital side, and in the branding space,” said Kaplan Stahler chief financial officer Todd Mooney.

Branding and endorsement deals for unscripted talent rep a wealth of untapped opportunities for the agency, Shankman said.

Among the clients he brought to the agency are some of the prospectors on Discovery’s “Gold Rush” and the family at the center of A&E’s upcoming “Duck Dynasty,” which revolves around the Duck Commander hunting supply firm in Louisiana. The “Gold Rush” stars can already be found on the Discovery.com website hawking gold nuggets and other items, while the “Dynasty” clan has a number of merch deals in the works, he said.

Consulting for digital and tech firms is also a big focus now that Hollywood is starting to make real money off of digital distribution pacts.

“There’s a need for the content side to now work with digital distribution companies to help the find great talent and great content, and there’s a need in the consulting space to help the tech community bridge the gap with Hollywood,” Shankman said.

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