When Universal Music Group boss Sir Lucian Grainge became a board director at TV and film house Lionsgate in 2016, it left some people puzzled. Today, it all makes sense.
Days after its publishing company inked a global admin deal with Lionsgate, UMG has just announced another major, multi-year agreement with the video producer and distributor.
Under the new deal, Universal and Lionsgate will develop original scripted and unscripted television projects drawn from UMG’s portfolio of labels, artists and music.
It’s apparently a ‘first-look’ agreement, suggesting that Lionsgate – co-producer and distributor of TV series such as Orange Is The New Black and Mad Men (pictured) – will be given first refusal on any project green-lit at Universal. (Interesting to note that UMG chose US-based Lionsgate ahead of Canal Plus, Universal’s sister company under Vivendi’s ownership, .)
Lionsgate will work closely with Polygram Entertainment, UMG’s film and television production and development division, to ‘combine the artistry, stories and recordings’ from labels such as Capitol, Def Jam, Interscope, Island, Republic, Universal Music Nashville, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Verve, Motown and Blue Note.
UMG will produce soundtrack albums associated with projects created under the agreement.
David Blackman, Head of Film and Television, Development and Production, UMG told MBW that although “the focus [of the Lionsgate deal] is less about volume and more about continuing to produce high quality series with top tier talent,” “given the amount of content housed within our company, we expect to have a fairly consistent stream of projects”.
“Given the amount of content housed within our company, we expect to have a fairly consistent stream of projects.”
David Blackman, UMG
He added: “There is such a wide possibility of stories that we can tel – we could even have multiple projects from any one artist. With this partnership, we’ll continue to expand the definition of music-driven stories – whether that means narratives set against entire scenes or eras of music, or projects driven by our artists’ catalogues.”
Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs said: “We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Universal Music Group, one of the world’s most innovative music companies and home to some of the greatest musical talent and recordings in existence.
“With Polygram, UMG has produced award-winning films and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in television. We see so much opportunity for storytelling in the talent and properties that UMG represents, and we look forward to working together to bring these incredible stories to life in a way that resonates with a global audience.”
“We’re excited to partner with Lionsgate, one of the premiere entertainment companies in the world, to create an unmatched opportunity for our artists and labels and the stories they inspire, as well as draw from the goldmine of genres, time periods and legendary figures represented by our rich and storied catalog,” said Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG.
“Polygram has quickly become a home for Hollywood’s brightest creators and this partnership is a significant step in our television and audiovisual strategy, as well as our evolution as a global media company.”
“This partnership is a significant step in our television and audiovisual strategy, as well as our evolution as a global media company.”
Michele Anthony, UMG
Added Blackman: “I’ve long respected Lionsgate for the incredible film and television projects they’ve brought to audiences around the world.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the music space and I feel fortunate to be at a company that is uniquely positioned at the intersection of film, television and music with an unrivaled roster of artists who continue to impact culture globally. With this new partnership, we’re perfectly positioned to deliver thrilling music-driven stories that will excite fans for years to come.”
This announcement builds on Lionsgate and UMG’s track record with film scores and soundtracks including La La Land (Interscope), Hunger Games (Republic) and Divergent (Interscope).
Lionsgate is in control of a 16,000-title film and television library, with its other recent TV hits including, Nashville, Dear White People and Kevin Hart: What The Fit.Music Business Worldwide