Archive for the ‘CCF’ Category

LoveLive wants to profit from performance rights

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Richard Cohen, founder of music agency LoveLive, says his business can open up a new source of funds for artists and labels in The Telegraph today.

A George Orwell quote printed on the record sleeve of an album by songwriter Martin Carr summarises the default public stance of many musicians when it comes to associating themselves with corporations: “Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”

For years, Carr, who led 1990s band The Boo Radleys, stubbornly refused countless approaches from the likes of breakfast cereal manufacturers to let his hit – the uncharacteristically commercial sounding Wake Up Boo! – be used on an advert.

Richard Cohen, boss of Shoreditch-based music agency LoveLive, is pleased to say that the current generation of bands and artists are far less reticent about allowing their tunes to be put in incongruous settings alongside the likes of Ford and Hewlett Packard. And with good reason, he argues: he believes he’s got a business model which is opening up a new source of funds for artists and labels.

“The music industry has never been healthier,” Cohen says. “There have never been so many people consuming or creating music or even spending so much money on it. Yes, the major record label model is challenged because technology and time has moved on. But live has never grown so rapidly. It’s a great time to start an innovative music business.”

While Cohen believes LoveLive is certainly that, he admits the concept it’s built on is “shamelessly” adopted from his former business, FTSE 250 digital sports rights firm Perform Group. The company, where Cohen led a small entertainment division, has contracts to exploit rights from more than 200 competitions around the world.

It makes money from its rights to leagues and events – which can be sold and sponsored; a series of websites, such as, where it sells advertising; and by managing the online activities of third parties, such as Chelsea FC. As the business has developed, it’s built its own subscription platforms to sell to fans.

Cohen watched the company grow and had the nagging feeling the model would be perfect for the music industry, where declining physical sales and an inability to control online formats has been undermining traditional record labels for years.

“I thought a football league was not dissimilar to a major record label. Each is an umbrella organisation,” Cohen says. “The clubs are like bands and artists, and the ecommerce requirements are similar – it’s tickets to live events, merchandise and a fan base. There were too many similarities to ignore. I started doing to music what Perform had done in sport.”

In other words, control the rights, help create the content and either own or influence the distribution channels. Since this would be almost impossible to achieve with more than a century of recorded music, the company focused on live performances. Cohen, who developed the idea at Perform and spun it out in 2008, has since negotiated a series of remarkable deals with labels which either allow LoveLive to license live performance rights for artists or even own them outright. It then produces TV and online shows and channels which can be sponsored or sold to broadcasters and music fans.

The East London-based business remains small – Cohen is cagey about turnover, but says it’s in seven figures. Controlling the rights is what sets the business apart, the 43-year old says. “Production companies work on horrendously thin margins and have no rights. We didn’t want to be a gun for hire.”

When the company filmed the album launch of Florence + The Machine last year, for example, fans paid £3.99 to watch the concert online and choose their own camera angle, chat with other viewers and download a concert programme. It then sold a TV version of the concert to Channel 4. Companies such as Ford, meanwhile, have paid LoveLive to produce sponsored channels – distributed on YouTube and on music websites, some of which LoveLive owns – of interviews with, and live performances of, the likes of Ed Sheeran and Bombay Bicycle Club.

Since LoveLive controls the purse strings, it can insist that artists are paid a fee in addition to whatever their deal with a label might be. “It makes it easier for us to book artists than anyone else,” says Cohen. “We started off with a simple ethos: a credible and ethical music business revolving around content where everyone got paid – artists, labels and us.”

But aren’t musicians sensitive about performing their songs while plonked in front of a Ford Transit van, for example? “Less is more; no one wants to see massive brand stickers everywhere,” he says. “I think if it’s selected well and delivered with the right sensibility, you can get even the most cynical of artist to appreciate the brands.”

What about Carr? He remained true to his word until 2009, when his first child was born. “It’s easy to exist in principled penury when you’re only really responsible for yourself but all that changed,” he says. Since then Wake Up Boo! has been used a number of times by various companies.

If Cohen’s model really does point a way forward, there will be no shortage of bands willing to put their name next to a corporation’s if it means they can supplement an often modest income.

“Artists have always had to get their souls dirty in order to pay the rent,” Carr says. “If you can avoid the job centre for another year, you’d be a fool not to.”

Hothouse Fiction announces TV ad campaigns for new book series

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Creative agency and book packager, Hothouse Fiction is launching targetted TV ad campaigns for the first time to support the marketing of its two latest book series. The TV ads mark an expansion of Hothouse’s role into book promotion alongside the publishers of its children’s books.

The two series are a six-parter Secret Kingdom, created for girls aged five plus and published by Orchard in July, and the five-part Quest of the Gods, a series for boys aged 7 to 10 published by Usborne in September.

Reg Wright, Hothouse Fiction CEO, said: “In return for the creation and placement of the TV ads, Hothouse is able to negotiate larger print-runs, broader distribution and complementary added-value items such as stickers, websites, eBooks and competitions.

“The TV ads have changed the confidence of publishers in their sell-in to the retailers. If our publishers show retailers their confidence to invest in a multi-book series and to promote it on the most popular entertainment channels for its audiences, our publishers’ sales teams are more able to get commitment from retailers to stock and promote our books. In this way Hothouse is beginning to redefine its role as a creator of fiction series into that of a collaborative content-provider: a partner rather than a supplier in the rapidly changing publishing marketplace.”

Since its launch three years ago, Hothouse Fiction has sold 21 serials and series to publishers and is in negotiation with three more. Already this year the four-part Bake A Wish series has been published by Scholastic and four of eight-parter Spell Sisters has been published by Simon & Schuster.

The Knowledge Engineers chairman Tim Brooks appointed to the Digital Cabinet

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Tim Brooks, chairman of The Knowledge Engineers, is one of 12 digital leaders appointed to the Government’s Digital Advisory Board, announced today by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.

The Board will support the Government to deliver its commitment to provide high-quality public services online as the default method of delivery, and will be chaired by UK Digital Champion and entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.

Martha Lane Fox said: “We hope to meet on a formal basis at least twice a year, but will also be taking part in ad-hoc events and bilateral pieces of work with Government as required, whether that’s sharing our experiences with Ministers or giving our advice and feedback on Departmental Digital Strategies.”

Tim Brooks, former managing director of Guardian News & Media, joined The Knowledge Engineers as chairman in November 2011. The Digital Cabinet’s other members are drawn from industry, retail and academia, and include Richard Allan, public policy adviser at Facebook.

The Knowledge Engineers launches two groundbreaking digital content platforms

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The Knowledge Engineers, formerly Utalk Marketing, has launched two online subscription services for its marketing specialist clients.

The Digital Knowledge Centre is an online learning platform for digital skills, with online courses and resources at three levels – foundation, intermediate and advanced – accessed in formats including videos, downloadable PDFs, webinars and in-depth reports.

12ahead provides insight into the latest digital marketing trends and creative technologies with content sourced from a network of writers and correspondents in cities including London, San Francisco, Singapore, Shanghai, Amsterdam and Sydney.

Both platforms are available on subscription and offer a free trial.
Niall McKinney, The Knowledge Engineers CEO, said: “With digital spend growing substantially, we not only educate on specific interactive skills through content and programmes centered on social media, search, display and more, but we also help companies create efficiencies by ensuring brands are getting the most out of their digital marketing dollars.”

LoveLive has opened Access All Areas to the Asia-Pacific region

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Live streaming and music programme producer LoveLive has launched an Asia-Pacific division to distribute its content under the banner Access All Areas. The new division will be run by former Yahoo! executive Tim Richards and initially will share existing infrastructure, catalogue and capabilities with the UK business.

Access All Areas will focus on syndication and distribution of its content in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, with filming and production capabilities to come later in the region. All LoveLive’s content is geo-rights cleared for streaming, digital and mobile viewing.

Richard Cohen, Love Live founder and CEO, said: “The Australia and South East Asia markets are ideal test beds to expand our international offering. We are already working at a global scale, but Access All Areas will really allow us to hone and perfect our international but location-specific services.’

LoveLive is also helping Amazon in the UK take its first steps into the world of music broadcasting following Amazon’s deal with Universal. LoveLive will be live streaming a Keane concert with Amazon at Central St Martin’s College in April.

Rights Tracker in global software licensing deal with Shine Group

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Rights Tracker has licensed its web-enabled rights management software to global television production group Shine. The software will manage all of the Group’s production and distribution rights.
Multi-company functionality will allow companies within Shine Group to control their licences and titles independently, as well as enable the group sales and distribution arm Shine International to manage end-to-end the acquisitions and sales processes. As phase one of the implementation, Rights Tracker’s modules have been integrated into Shine International’s financial package.

Ronan Walsh, Rights Systems Manager at Shine Group said: “As part of a wider business systems initiative, Shine Group had identified a need for a web enabled solution covering our product life cycle, from group production companies through to our international distribution division. The Rights Tracker solution fulfilled all of our requirements.”

Ross Bentley, Rights Tracker’s CEO, said: “It is tremendous news that Shine has made the decision to use our software in order to manage their business processes. The Group is a hugely impressive global player whose ability to grow super-brands such as MasterChef speaks for itself. Shine understands that rigorous management of rights and metadata from initial production through to international exploitation and beyond is key to ensuring maximum return on their brands. This deal points to a very exciting future for us.”

Gaming has teamed up with Gaikai to let customers try before they buy

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Greenman Gaming customers can now stream and play Gaikai game demos through any of its sites including its flagship UK store and recently launched portals in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Gaikai is a cloud gaming service that lets customers sample PC games through any web browser. As well as Greenman Gaming, other Gaikai partners include Eurogamer, Best Buy US, LG and YouTube.
Paul Sulyok, Greenman Gaming CEO, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see Gaikai teaming up with a young online retailer, as well as heavyweight publishers, retailers and media brands.”

Gaikai’s senior vice-president, interactive entertainment, Robert Stevenson said: “Greenman Gaming has demonstrated great growth and we anticipate that our streaming service will further accelerate their digital business.”

Green Man Gaming was founded in 2010 and offers 900 titles to 146 countries.

Channelflip acquired by News Corporation’s Shine Group

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Channelflip, the UK’s leading producer of short form programming for the internet, has been acquired by Shine Group, the television production company founded by Elisabeth Murdoch and owned by News Corporation.

As part of Shine Group, the Channelflip team will continue to produce original content for online platforms. With its experience in building brand partnerships and online communities, Channelflip will work alongside Shine’s traditional production businesses, and bolster the group’s existing multi-platform and direct-to-consumer offerings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Elisabeth Murdoch said: “Wil and Justin are true like-minded creative entrepreneurs and we welcome them and their team to Shine Group. They have built Channelflip into its leadership position through creative and commercial excellence, producing compelling and innovative online productions whilst persuading advertisers of the deeper relationships they can play within these.”

The Creative Capital Fund invested in August 2009 in Channelflip, which was founded in 2008 by Justin Gayner and Wil Harris. Channelflip has a stable of original productions, with a range of established TV talent, including Harry Hill, Richard Hammond and David Mitchell, and one of Europe’s largest premium YouTube networks with over 500 million aggregate views. It recently licensed 2,500 classic films from Studio Canal to use as short form clips.

Utalk appoints Tim Brooks as chairman

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Utalk Marketing, the world’s leading provider of digital training and knowledge, has appointed Tim Brooks, former managing director of Guardian News and Media as chairman

Brooks joins at an exciting time for Utalk after it successfully launched an office in the USA and the appointment of a senior media figure to lead the board indicates the strength of its future global growth prospects.

Niall Mckinney, Utalk CEO, said: “It’s not often you get to choose your own boss. Once Tim’s vast experience and knowledge became available, we lost no time in securing his services. I have benefitted from Tim’s wisdom for many years, and look forward to building Utalk Marketing even faster with his support.”

Channelflip is UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster on YouTube

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ChannelFlip has become the most subscribed UK broadcaster on YouTube with more subscribers than ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 combined.

Channelflip has attracted more subscribers on YouTube than ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 put together with its compelling mix of, original short-form entertainment. Subscribers to Channelflip’s YouTube channel have hit the 1,192,633 mark, giving it a combined monthly reach of over 4.4 million viewers and generating 320 million views.

Channelflip is growing its audience by adding emerging internet and female presenting talent to its roster of established TV stars like Harry Hill and David Mitchell. Yesterday it launched a new six-part series presented by Dawn Porter featuring ‘tongue-in-cheek tips for girls’.

The company has also agreed deals with 22-year-old Fleur de Force, whose beauty and advice tips have attracted 140,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, and Stuart Ashens, the self-styled ‘purveyor of fine entertainment’, who has 140,000 subscribers, generating more than 30 million views.

Channelflip will explore commercial opportunities for the YouTube stars, including pre-roll advertising around their programming and ad-funded content partnerships with brands wanting to reach young people. The firm will also offer the stars creative and technical support.

Wil Harris, managing director of Channelflip, said: “Channelflip is well known for working with some of TV’s finest talent but we’re very excited to be signing up the next generation of digital stars. Our shows are already hugely popular across the globe but by working with the most exciting stars of the new media world, we will further broaden our appeal into the youth market.”