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Listen: Steve Mosko on Shifting From Studio Life to Startup Mentality at Village Roadshow

Steve Mosko is on a mission to build the indie TV studio for the streaming era in his new role as CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.

Mosko, the former Sony Pictures Television chief, details for this week’s episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast his mission to build out Village Roadshow into a production entity for original movies and TV shows for the first time in its history.

Mosko also speaks candidly about making the shift from studio boss in 2016 to being the leader of a lean and scrappy startup operation in 2019.

“I knew coming in it would be different than working for a big studio,” Mosko says. “Things that would have been done by people who worked for you — I’m doing them now.”

In between his time at Sony and Village Roadshow, Mosko worked with Jeff Robinov on raising money for Robinov’s Studio 8 venture. That process taught him that it’s “extremely helpful to have access to IP” in this frenetic moment for media. Village Roadshow has access to some exclusive IP through its ownership of the Rysher Entertainment library, among other holdings.

Mosko outlines plans to produce two to four movies a year, targeted to streaming services at the start. Village Roadshow also plans to exploit the content library it owns with such disparate titles as “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and “Nash Bridges.”

The growth of the streaming marketplace has made it easier for companies such as Village Roadshow to move into production because Netflix, Amazon, and others pay license fees plus a profit margin fee (of 10% of the license fee or more depending on the project). That means the producer doesn’t have to put up deficit financing funds for multiple seasons, as under the traditional TV model.

A young company like Village Roadshow can take advantage of this while a major studio with high overhead and a big international sales operation can’t afford to work for a predetermined upside.

“There are predictable earnings attached to these streaming deals,” Mosko said. “But if you’re a big studio, living off these deals is not great.”

Mosko aims to get a few TV projects off the ground soon — look for a new iteration of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” coming soon — but he’s mindful that the company needs a mix of old and new concepts.

“What we don’t want to become is a company just focused on remakes,” he said. “But at the same time, we can take some of this branded IP to use it as a way to get the ball rolling.”

Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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