It’s not just the public-facing part of the entertainment industry that’s currently being shaken up by new technology; the behind-the-scenes workings of the industry are going through just as big a shift, thanks to new forms of distribution offered by the Internet.
With that in mind, Charles King, a long-time partner at the William Morris Endeavor talent agency, today announced that he is in the process of setting up a new media holding company called MACRO. MACRO will focus on creating and distributing entertainment designed for both traditional media, like movie theaters, and new media, like online streaming services. The content MACRO creates will be aimed at currently under-served African-American, Latino, and multicultural (ALM) audiences.
As the first and only African-American partner at WME, King hopes to marry the talents of gifted storytellers with traditional and unconventional platforms and distribution channels. In particular, the company is keen to focus on creating digital content–with an added venture capital component, and strong ties with Silicon Valley.
There’s no word yet on which specific channels King will to target, or how “unconventional” he plans to be with his media creation and business model, although the project does have the backing of Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, suggesting that digital distribution will be high on the priority list. There are also plenty of big names involved on the Hollywood side, including Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan director Craig Brewer.
“There were two major catalysts that propelled me to move to L.A. and enter the industry over 15 years ago: my vision to build a media company one day and the knowledge that what I saw on screen did not fully reflect the spectrum of who we are,” says Charles King. “It’s clear to me now, as it was then, that there’s a growing appetite for content that serves the more diverse world we live in.”
While the entertainment industry has recently made progress in increasing diversity on-screen, the tech world is still plagued by unbalanced demographics. MACRO could be a big step forward, because as Steve Jobs once proved with Pixar, when you bring together Hollywood establishment figures and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, the results can be anything but ordinary.