A Conversation with Byron Allen and Entertainment Studios
Live on YouTube - Wednesday, November 18th at 12pm PST / 3pm EST
In 1993, Byron Allen founded his Los Angeles-based global media company, Entertainment Studios. Allen now owns one of the largest cable network portfolios in the industry, featuring ten, 24-hour HD television networks, The Weather Channel among them. The company continues to produce and distribute Emmy Award-winning and nominated shows, while also selling advertising for 67 broadcast and cable television programs. Entertainment Studios has one of the largest libraries of family and advertiser-friendly lifestyle content in the world. Further distinguishing Entertainment Studios is its status as the first African American owned multi-platform media studio producing and distributing wide-release motion pictures and content for all platforms.
Join us for a conversation with comedian, media mogul, activist, philanthropist, and storyteller Byron Allen, as he sits down to discuss the rise of Entertainment Studios in the face of the challenges that come with being a Black-owned media company. Allen will be joined by CEO and Founder of Overture Global Donnovan Andrews and long-time Brand Storytelling Advisory Board Member Marc Battaglia to discuss How Entertainment Studios is innovating brand integration in an increasingly “non-interruptive” media ecosystem while working with brands and producers to create unique content opportunities.
CEO & Founder
With a wealth of experience in international tech, media, and advertising –and an expansive background of entre- and intrapreneurship– Donnovan decided to act on his passion to accelerate the traditional approaches to global humanitarianism: through innovation and collaboration.
In 2016, he founded Overture to leverage his connections, and to foster dialogue and partnerships, with the ultimate goal of encouraging development of technology solutions that will improve the lives of humankind.
Before forming Overture, Donnovan was the 4A´s first-ever external appointee. As Chief Advisor of Digital Media and Innovation, he guided the 96-year-old organization and its 800 member agencies in all digital media matters.
Founder, Chairman and CEO
In 1993, comedian, producer, media mogul, and philanthropist Byron Allen founded his Los Angeles-based global media company, Entertainment Studios. The company has additional offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh. Allen now owns one of the largest cable network portfolios in the industry, featuring ten, 24-hour HD television networks (THE WEATHER CHANNEL, COMEDY.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, JUSTICECENTRAL.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, PETS.TV, RECIPE.TV, LOCAL NOW, and THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPAÑOL). The company continues to produce and distributing Emmy Award-winning and nominated shows, while also selling advertising for 67 broadcast and cable television programs. Entertainment Studios has one of the largest libraries of family and advertiser-friendly lifestyle content in the world.
Further distinguishing Entertainment Studios is its status as the first African-American owned multi-platform media studio producing and distributing wide-release motion pictures and content for all platforms. In 2015, Allen purchased Freestyle Releasing, now called Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, a full-service theatrical movie distribution company. Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN. In 2018, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures released the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILES and the historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK. In 2019 ESMP released 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED, the very successful second film in the potential franchise. To date, 47MD: UNCAGED has earned nearly $47M across all distribution platforms. The digital distribution unit of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films.
In 2016, Entertainment Studios purchased TheGrio, a digital, video-centric news platform devoted to providing compelling entertainment, news and lifestyle content for African-Americans TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles, and blogs on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business, and entertainment and remains focused on curating engaging digital content and currently has more than 20 million annual visitors.
In the spring of 2018, Byron Allen acquired the #1 weather news television network, The Weather Channel. In 2018, The Weather Channel was named the 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend TV News Brand for the eighth consecutive year. It also deployed cutting-edge storytelling with its IMR (Immersive Mixed Reality) technology which draws viewers into detailed and visually stunning weather and climate events.
Brand Storytelling Advisor
Marc is an award-winning global creative executive and content marketing leader. He has a proven track record of building and leading creative teams for content studios and agencies. His expertise is in developing and executing branded entertainment, innovative marketing and story-driven content that connects with consumers. He has been a featured speaker at SXSW, PROMAX, Collision, Brand Film Festival, RampUp, NATPE and NAB. He serves on the Brand Storytelling advisory board, was recently inducted into the “Brand Storytelling Honor Roll” and has judged for both the Brand Film Festival and The Association of Independent Commercial Producers. He has also been featured on several podcast series including, the “Daily Brief”, “Creative Leaders” and “Content That Moves.”
Currently he is consulting for brands, agencies and studios. He is an architect in developing content marketing ecosystems and brand studios. Most recently, he was the Head of Studio and Global Executive Creative Director for Marriott International, where he led the in-house content studio for Marriott’s 30 brands worldwide, across 80 countries on 6 continents. In his role he oversees brand-funded entertainment, the global travel network, Marriott Bonvoy TV and all original story-driven programming meant to build awareness and brand “fans” while championing the value of content marketing companywide.
Prior to his current role he served as VP+Creative Director for Remedy, an EMMY® award winning branded entertainment studio. There he worked with partners such as Disney, Fox Sports and NatGeo Wild on developing original content, marketing initiatives that went way beyond traditional media solutions.
Before joining Remedy, he served in several creative lead roles including Head of Creative for several Fox Sports Net brands as well as Senior Producer of Branding for global retail giant HSN.
His experiences have garnered accolades including numerous National PROMAX, CLIO, Shorty, ADDY, Webby, EMMY®, Telly, TVA & BizTech awards.