×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WPP’s GroupM Makes Bid for Programming with Launch of Motion Content Group

WPP, the British advertising giant, has quietly invested in some of the most interesting content developers on the landscape, including Imagine Entertainment, The Weinstein Company and Media Rights Capital. Now the owner of ad agencies like Young & Rubicam and JWT wants to ramp up its efforts

The company’s GroupM, known for helping marketers allocate advertising dollars into media, has launched a new content investment and rights management company known as Motion Content Group. The new unit “will invest and partner with the world’s leading talent, producers and distributors to fund, develop, produce and distribute premium content.” Motion also supports WPP’s content investments, which also include MediaPro and All Def Digital, a venture of the entrepreneur Russell Simmons.

“With new content companies such as Netflix and Amazon growing rapidly, the competition for premium content is heating up across the globe,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, in a statement. ” WPP is investing in Motion Content Group to strengthen our content creation and distribution capabilities, to help meet evolving viewer needs, and to help advertisers continue to reach consumers in high quality content environments.”

Richard Foster (above, pictured), will serve as CEO of Motion Content Group, which will have headquarters in both London and Los Angeles.  Foster had been CEO of GroupM Entertainment, and the new Motion will incorporate GroupM Entertainment’s team and resources, as well as programs it has partnered to develop and produce. Some of the productions under Motion’s aegis include “The Pinkertons,” syndicated in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., the British documentary series “Mutiny,” and the Canadian series “X-Company.”

“We will help meet the market demand for premium content. I think we all recognize that viewer expectations are rising all the time, not only in quality of TV production, but in how it is consumed,” said Foster, in an interview. “That puts pressure on the economics of television – not just TV in the U.S., but around the world.”

WPP has long maintained content ambitions. In 2003, its Mindshare North America unit struck a deal with ABC that called for the two sides to create scripted dramas and comedies together. And in 2015, Sorrell told Variety that he saw an opportunity in the fact that more consumers were able to gain access to high-quality video content via mobile devices. “What’s interesting about video in a high-penetration market like Brazil or an India or an Italy — the amount of live video is becoming more and more interesting. I think it’s the connection for video that is absorbing a lot of attention. When you think about Netflix and its productions and then what Bezos might do with Amazon and what Apple might do in terms of content or what Google might do, what Facebook might do, it’s starting to look very interesting,” he said.

Foster said his company “has been active in about 20 to 25 markets around the world, investing our own money,” with the U.K. the company’s largest market. Formation of the new unit will “give us some focus and some drive,” he said. “We’ve got more coming.”

More TV

  • Charmed -- "Let This Mother Out"

    'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & Elizabeth Kruger Board Series

    The CW’s reboot of “Charmed” is changing showrunners. Variety has learned that Carter Covington has stepped down as showrunner on the series, which has already been renewed for a second season. Husband and wife team Craig Shapiro and Elizabeth Kruger have been brought on to helm the series going forward. Shapiro and Kruger are currently [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Reese Witherspoon Jennifer

    What We Know About 'Amazing Stories' And Other Shows Coming to Apple TV+

    Viewers got a sneak peek of upcoming shows coming to Apple TV+, Apple’s newly unveiled streaming service, during the company’s live-streamed event in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. The stars and creators of the most highly anticipated projects like Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and “The Morning Show” from Reese Witherspoon appeared on stage to reveal more [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    Richard Gere Series 'MotherFatherSon' Sold to Multiple Territories

    BBC Studios, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, has announced a raft of territory sales for Richard Gere starrer “MotherFatherSon,” a drama series written by Tom Rob Smith, Emmy-nominated for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The show will screen Tuesday at Series Mania, France, in the International Panorama section. Buyers for the eight-part thriller include [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer for 'Special'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for “Special,” and Wrestlemania’s main event will be a women’s match, a first in WWE history. FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for its upcoming 15-minute comedy show “Special.” Ryan O’Connell stars in the semi-autobiographical series about life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The series is [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Lauren Whitney

    Miramax President of TV Lauren Whitney Exits to Join Spyglass Media Group

    Lauren Whitney, the president of television for Miramax, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. She will now become the president of television for Spyglass Media Group effective April 1. The news comes less than two years after Whitney first joined Miramax. There, she oversaw the studio’s television development, in addition to “Spy City,” produced by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content