You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia.

The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and participating platforms, talent and brands can search through an extensive library of clothing and animations for their avatars using keywords, emotional categories and topical action packs that are refreshed every week.

Genies is the technology that artists like Rihanna, Cardi B or Jennifer Lopez use when they can’t physically be in two places at once,” Loehr, who will be Genies’ Asia manager, told Variety. “Avatars are a cool way of communicating, and an exciting new way of marketing things.”

Previously an independent China-based film producer, Loehr was MD of Creative Artists Agency in China from 2005 to 2012, growing the business from the ground up to represent more than 70 artists in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, including stars Huang Bo, Daniel Wu, Xu Zheng and John Woo. He then went on to head Legendary East, the unit of Legendary Entertainment that marketed the company’s Hollywood slate in China and co-produced “The Great Wall.”

Based in Tokyo, Possman has a more-than-30-year career that includes co-founding advisory firm DFR Asia. He has also served as a board member for Zomba/Jive Records Japan and V2 Japan, vice president of EMI Music, senior GM of the Virgin label in Japan, and director of international marketing at Sony Music Entertainment.

Genies was founded in 2015 by Akash Nigam and Evan Rosenbaum, and is based in Venice, Calif. To date, it has raised $40 million from venture capital firms and angel investors including former Legendary head Thomas Tull and Jim Breyer, the investment industry legend who was an early backer of Facebook and IDG China.

Genies recently announced the integration of its avatars on social media and chat platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. The launch of its new media agency is accompanied by international expansion, and compatibility with popular Asian social platforms Weibo, WeChat, Line and Kakao.

“We’ve had our eyes set on Asia for a while as we’ve seen rising demand in the market,” said Genies CEO Nigam.

“We’ve all seen a shift in the way we communicate in the past few years,” Loehr added. “I wanted to be part of a company that’s at the forefront the next phase of human interactions. I’ve kept a close eye on all their celebrity deals and brand partnerships such as Gucci and am excited about bringing Asian brands and talent into the mix.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content