Candle Media has rapidly emerged as a powerhouse in digital content and media, rewriting the rules of content creation and distribution. Spearheaded by former Disney executives Kevin A. Mayer and Thomas O. Staggs, and with Brent Weinstein, a seasoned expert from the United Talent Agency (UTA) as Chief Operating Officer, the Los Angeles-based company is making significant strides in entertainment across both digital and traditional media. The trio is marrying the charm of traditional Hollywood with the audacious innovation inherent to the digital world, blazing a trail that many are watching with keen interest.
The robust portfolio that Candle Media proudly owns under the tutelage of Mayer, Staggs, and Weinstein includes Moonbug Entertainment, Hello Sunshine, and Faraway Road Productions – the latter gaining acclaim for producing the Israeli thriller series, ‘Fauda’. This potent blend of seasoned leadership and diverse assets endows Candle Media with a unique prowess to navigate the complex realm of digital media.
In a recent conversation with Net Influencer at VidCon Anaheim, Weinstein shed light on Candle Media’s innovative strategies, future growth plans, and how the company is positioning itself in the rapidly evolving world of digital entertainment.
Candle Media’s Future-Ready Blueprint: A Paradigm Shift In Digital Media
Unleashing the Power of Partnerships: TikTok and Beyond
A central pillar of Candle Media’s philosophy is the exploration of potential creative partnerships. A notable example of this strategy is the recent alliance with TikTok, a collaboration announced at the Cannes Lions in April. “We’re big believers in all things creative economy and big believers in TikTok and the audience it’s built and continues to build,” declared Weinstein.
The partnership includes three key components. Firstly, Candle Media aims to develop branded entertainment for TikTok’s major brand advertisers. Secondly, TikTok’s Premier program will showcase premium content from Candle Media’s business units, offering a novel platform for advertisers. Lastly, Candle Media’s subsidiary, Hello Sunshine, will partner with TikTok to elevate female BookTok creators and independent authors, thereby giving impetus to their Hollywood careers and identifying potential material for premium film and TV productions. “Hello Sunshine will be partnering with TikTok around their BookTok creators and independent authors in order to shine a light on stories by women for all,” shared Weinstein.
Rethinking the Rulebook of Growth and Scaling
Weinstein emphasizes the stark difference between the growth strategies of traditional talent agencies and modern digital entertainment brands. During his two-decade tenure at UTA, Weinstein witnessed the inception of several digital business units, coinciding with the rise of platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. “We’re looking to build an entire business based on not only the world as it exists today, but what we think it’s going to look like in the years that come,” explained Weinstein.
Echoing this sentiment, Candle Media focuses on anticipating future trends rather than adhering to past industry norms. This forward-thinking approach represents a refreshing deviation from legacy models and echoes the ethos of Weinstein’s earlier endeavors at UTA. “Being able to build a business without having to worry about it in legacy models is unbelievably freeing,” he added.
Harnessing the Magic of Moonbug and Understanding Global Audiences
Candle Media’s Moonbug Entertainment, a children’s digital content creator behind viral sensations like ‘Cocomelon’ and ‘Blippi’, exemplifies Weinstein’s vision of ‘content community commerce’. Moonbug epitomizes the potential of digital-first intellectual property in fostering engaged, global communities that can be leveraged for various commercial opportunities. “CocoMelon has hundreds of millions of followers across its channels, deeply engaged community, not just in the US, but on a global basis,” revealed Weinstein.
Moreover, Candle Media understands the significance of catering to a global audience, a strategy that sharply contrasts with traditional national-level rights models. Digital platforms such as YouTube offer total ownership of franchises, the liberty to produce limitless content, and the capability to reach audiences across various international platforms. “Being an independent studio gives us that flexibility, and it’s something that we thrive on,” affirmed Weinstein. “One thing that’s clear about nearly any digital native brand at scale is an understanding of the audience beyond national borders.”
Balancing Act: Live Action Content and Global Streaming Platforms
Weinstein revealed Candle Media’s astute approach towards live-action content, where the studio carefully selects its distribution partners based on their content’s potential reach. With successful collaborations with global platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, as well as domestic ones like HBO Max, Candle Media has demonstrated its capacity to navigate diverse markets. They have even extended to Spanish-speaking audiences with their popular show, ‘Ugly.’
Weinstein’s insights underscore Candle Media’s strategic direction towards nurturing relationships with premium streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, and social platforms like TikTok and YouTube. This approach not only propels the company’s growth but also underlines the growing importance of platforms like TikTok for innovative storytelling and marketing. Candle Media’s successful collaborations herald an exciting new era of content creation, encapsulating the essence of a rapidly evolving digital age and its profound influence on the global media landscape.