Production firm Whalerock Industries is hoping to scare up more digital dollars with a new strategy to launch media “hubs” in partnership with celebrities — who, it seems, are looking for ways to connect directly with (and monetize) their fanbases despite the plethora of digital outlets already at their disposal.
The company’s first deals are with Howard Stern, the Kardashian clan — Kim Kardashian West (pictured, above), Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner — and rapper Tyler, the Creator.
Specifics on Whalerock’s “media hubs” are sketchy for now. The first rollout will be an app from Tyler, the Creator to launch in the first half of 2015. That will include original and licensed content, and the app will let the rapper interact directly with his biggest fans, according to Whalerock. The hubs will include a mix of paid and ad-supported content.
“Today’s digital world gives influential brands the opportunity to connect directly with their audience and consumers,” Lloyd Braun, founder and CEO of Whalerock, said in announcing the strategy. “Whalerock is providing influential brands the platform, production infrastructure and other capabilities required to create and program unique and innovative direct-to-consumer Media Hubs.”
Also Wednesday, Whalerock and MGM announced that their TV and film agreement has been extended into 2017. MGM handles international distribution for Whalerock’s “Battlebots” series, to air this summer on ABC. Other MGM-Whalerock projects include the film “I Am Pilgrim,” based on the Terry Hayes bestseller.
New York-based investment firm GF Capital has acquired a minority stake in Whalerock to provide capital to fund development of the media hubs and future initiatives.
Whalerock was formerly BermanBraun, changing its name after partner Gail Berman exited the firm last year. Whalerock’s digital properties include Wonderwall and Moviefone.com (in partnership with AOL).