×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Producer Will Packer Sets TV, Branded Content Venture With Discovery, Universal Pictures

Prolific producer Will Packer has set up a TV, digital and branded content production venture with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures.

As part of the deal, Will Packer Media will have a first-look programming pact with OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s joint venture with Discovery. Packer will serve as CEO, with Scripps Networks Interactive alum Alix Baudin signing on as president and chief operating officer.

In connection with the Discovery investment, Will Packer Media has acquired Russell Simmons’ marketing firm Narrative_ and has set that company’s co-founder, Tricia Clarke-Stone, to lead branded content initiatives.

“We have put together a dream team of the best talent and partners to help us create bold and fresh content for audiences hungry for something special,” said Packer. “We are creating a new model for content production that sees TV and digital as equals, and combines the best of storytelling and brands for an underserved audience.”

The company plans to produce TV series, scripted and unscripted, and digital short-form content aimed at what is described as “an urban millennial core that is defining and driving pop culture at large.” The plans include building a “digital destination” to serve up short-form content.

“Our goal is to be the leading storytelling company focused on our core demographic of ‘New American Mainstream’ audiences across multiple devices and platforms,” said Baudin.

Packer’s film production company, Will Packer Productions, remains a separate entity with its own first-look pact with Universal Pictures. That company is on a roll with its urban comedy “Girls Trip” bowing this past weekend as a strong No. 2 at the box office. Will Packer Media will have offices in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

“Will is a creative genius and one of Universal’s most important partners within our film studio,” said Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “We are proud to back Will and his exceptional team and look forward to continued success together.”

The deal marks an unusual investment for Discovery in an outside production entity and a sign of the company’s efforts to diversify. The deal with Packer for series content for OWN comes on the heels of Tyler Perry setting a mammoth overall deal with Viacom that will end his exclusive TV relationship with OWN as of May 2019.

“As the media industry continues its rapid transformation, and as younger, more diverse viewers seek to be nourished by content across all screens, it’s more important than ever to have a direct line to the most creative minds in the business,” said Discovery chief David Zaslav. “Discovery is proud to lead the investment in Will Packer Media and we are excited for the opportunities, both creative and commercial, that this new model of company and its strong leadership team can bring to life for audiences and advertisers.”

OWN president Erik Logan said of Packer: “His unique voice and connection with audiences is unparalleled.”

Packer’s recent run at the box office includes such hits as “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man,” “Stomp the Yard” and “The Wedding Ringer.” Packer’s track record with TV series has been spotty to date. He was a key player in shepherding the History miniseries “Roots” last year and he is an exec producer of the BET drama “Being Mary Jane.”

Packer was repped in the complicated transaction by CAA, attorney Matthew Johnson at Ziffren Brittenham and attorney Michael Eisner at Eisner Jaffe.

More Digital

  • Nancy Pelosi

    Facebook on Defensive Over Fake Pelosi Video

    Facebook faced growing criticism this week over its decision not to remove a video that was doctored to suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intoxicated during a recent public event. The video, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, had been slowed down notably, giving the impression that Pelosi was slurring her [...]

  • Little-Black-Mirror-Maia-Mitchell

    Netflix Launching 'Little Black Mirror' Video Series Starring Maia Mitchell, Lele Pons, Rudy Mancuso, Juanpa Zurita and More

    To promote next month’s premiere of “Black Mirror” season 5, Netflix is launching a short video series — “Little Black Mirror,” with a cast that includes an ensemble of Latinx social-media stars. The three “mini-stories,” aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences, are inspired by the tech-dystopian universe of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ anthology series. “Little Black [...]

  • Twitter

    Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform's Rules

    Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform. “The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter rep said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake [...]

  • Snapchat

    Snap in Talks to License Music to Let Snapchat Users Embed Songs in Posts

    Snap wants to up Snapchat’s music game. The company has been in negotiations with music companies including the big three — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group — to license song catalogs for the Snapchat app, according to two industry sources familiar with the talks, confirming a Wall Street Journal report. [...]

  • T-mobile - Netflix - John Legere

    T-Mobile Passes Netflix Price Hike Through to Subscribers

    T-Mobile is getting ready to raise prices for subscribers who have taken advantage of its “Netflix On Us” promotion: The mobile carrier will begin charging existing customers who have participated in the promotion an additional $2 per month to account for Netflix’s recent price increase. Consumers will see their bill go up starting on 6/2. [...]

  • Oona King

    Snap Hires Google Exec Oona King as First VP of Diversity and Inclusion

    Snap continues to fill out the ranks of its revamped leadership team: The Snapchat parent tapped Oona King, most recently Google’s director of diversity strategy and a former member of British Parliament with the Labour Party, as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. King, who starts at Snap on June 11, is also the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content