Aren Prupas has taken over the reins as president and CEO of Canadian “Coroner” producer and distribution company Muse Entertainment.
Prupas stepped into the role as of Jan. 1, when he took over for his father, Michael Prupas. Prupas Sr. now serves as executive chairman of the board.
Previously, Aren Prupas spent a decade as the company’s COO and senior VP of business and legal affairs. He is a member of the New York and Quebec Bars with a BA in Political Science from Tufts University; an LLB, Law, from Montreal University; and an LLM, Banking, Corporate & Finance Law, from Fordam University of Law School.
“Ours is a complicated, regulatory and guild-governed industry, particularly in Canada,” Prupas tells Variety on how his legal background will help guide the company through potential industry changes ahead.
“My experience working with network executives, leading agents and managers, and union and guild representatives, as well as my extensive knowledge in qualifying projects on a Canadian content, service or co-production basis, will be essential in Muse maintaining its nimbleness and opportunism across our broad development and production slate.”
Prupas takes over ahead of Muse Entertainment’s 25th anniversary in May. Looking ahead, he reveals his goal is to maintain a foothold in the fast-changing media landscape by adapting, diversifying and adjusting to new networks, technologies and viewing habits.
“This year the sands will continue to shift and our success will in large part depend on how we flow with the tide,” he says.
“That [includes] both championing diversity within the ranks of Muse, as well as from the onset, meaningfully partnering with producers and artists from underserved groups on projects representing their communities.”
On a personal note, as a father to a son with cerebral palsy and autism, Prupas hopes to bring more neuro-diverse projects to the screen and reveals Muse is already in paid development with majors on projects with lead characters who have cerebral palsy and/or autism.
“What we live day-to-day is not something the world gets to see or hear much about,” he says. “My experience has in part helped galvanize our closely knit family at Muse to accelerate our development initiatives in this area, as we earnestly hope to bring to air projects that highlight both the beauty, and the struggle, of the neuro diverse and physically disabled.”
The executive reveals the increasing costs of worldwide production and the depressed Canadian dollar— coupled with tax credit incentive programs — will hopefully draw more production activity to the company. He notes Muse is “well placed to capitalize on this increased activity” as foreign studios look to partner with local outlets.
In terms of Bill C-11, the proposed federal regulatory change that requires streamers to invest as much as domestic broadcasters on Canadian content, Prupas reveals those quotas will be accretive to Muse given recent partnerships with Netflix (“Single All the Way”), Amazon Prime (“Three Pines”) and Apple TV+ (“Best Foot Forward”), among others.
Prupas takes over during a potentially rough year ahead for the Canadian screen industry. He predicts that high interest rates, along with continued inflation, will continue to squeeze margins across the country.
“A predicted recession in the second half of 2023 will likely depress ad spending, as major brands, in anticipation, tighten their purse springs, potentially affecting the success of the roll-out of paid-ad subscription tier(s) by the streamers,” he adds.
“With Wall Street’s renewed focus on operating margins in the sector, management at the streamers might give second thought to increasing content spend budgets in 2024 and beyond.”
Prupas now leads an executive team that includes Irene Litinsky, president of production for Canada; Joel Rice, president of Muse USA; Jesse Prupas, SVP scripted; Shawn Rosengarten, SVP distribution; and Jonas Prupas, SVP unscripted.