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Whistle Acquires New Form, the Digital Studio Backed by Discovery, ITV, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer

Whistle, a sports and entertainment internet media company, acquired New Form, a digital entertainment studio whose owners included Discovery, ITV, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed. Under the pact, New Form’s owners are making a cash investment in return for equity stakes in Whistle. Founded in 2014, New Form had raised $30 million. Current stakeholders Discovery, ITV, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Jim Wiatt, Craig Jacobson, Ed Wilson and Michael Rosenberg are now shareholders of Whistle through the transaction.

New York-based Whistle, also launched in 2014, has raised over $100 million from investors including Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, Aser Media, Liberty Global, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Tegna, Beringea and Emil Capital. It was originally called Whistle Sports, specializing in aggregating sports video content targeted at younger audiences.

According to Whistle, the deal immediately expands its overall content slate to “create a balanced collection of premium original scripted and unscripted content” that it can shop to a wider base of potential partners.

“With New Form’s content slate, we are excited to build a bigger portfolio to serve our ever-growing global audience and distribution partners,” Whistle CEO and founder John West said in announcing the pact.

Among their recent content deals, Whistle sold its first documentary series to Katzenberg-led short-form video startup Quibi called “Benedict Men,” executive produced by Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media. New Form’s daily docuseries for Facebook Watch, “365 Days of Love,” featuring and executive produced by Sofia Vergara and co-produced by Raze, launched earlier this month.

As part of Whistle, New Form will continue to be led by CEO Kathleen Grace, who will report to Whistle president Michael Cohen. According to the companies, all New Form productions currently in the works will proceed as planned. “We believe we will be stronger as we tap into Whistle’s experienced creators to develop premium series for all platforms and further accelerate the growth of our business,” Grace said in a statement.

L.A.-based New Form has 20 employees, all of whom are joining Whistle. New Form has produced some 30 original series to date, including Olan Rogers’ animated space comedy “Final Space” for TBS, as well as high-school comedy “Mr. Student Body President” and sci-fi adventure series “Miss 2059” for Verizon’s now-defunct Go90.

According to the companies, Whistle and New Form expect to “realize meaningful synergies” as well as increased access to talent through Whistle’s creator network and the companies’ respective CAA affiliations. Whistle claims to reach an audience of around 518 million across platforms including YouTube and that its channels generate 2.1 billion video views monthly. The parties see an opportunity for New Form to tap into that audience with content like New Form’s “TXT Stories” short-form scripted series, shot entirely through group-chat messages.

Pictured above: Whistle CEO John West (l.), New Form CEO Kathleen Grace

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