Industrial Media CEO Eli Holzman will join SPT as president of nonfiction entertainment, reporting to Ravi Ahuja, Sony chairman of global television studios and SPE corporate development.
Sony Pictures Television has signed an agreement to acquire independent nonfiction production company Industrial Media.
SPT also announced the formation of a new Game Show production division to be led by longtime SPT executive, Suzanne Prete.
Prete, the executive who oversees Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, will develop and produce new game show content while continuing to oversee the popular syndicated shows.
Industrial Media’s portfolio of producers includes 19 Entertainment, B17 Entertainment, House of NonFiction, Sharp Entertainment, The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), This Machine Filmworks, This Radicle Act, and Trilogy Films. It produces over 100 unscripted programs, most notably the 90 Day Fiancé franchise for TLC, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, Selena+Chef and Craftop
Collectively, the Industrial Media group has approximately 100 employees in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, producing multi-platform programming across a variety of genres, including the documentary, music competition and reality categories.
Upon closing, Sony Pictures will acquire a majority controlling interest in Industrial Media based on a purchase price which values the company at $350m, subject to customary transaction adjustments.
Industrial Media CEO and founder and CEO of IPC, Eli Holzman, will join SPT as President of Nonfiction Entertainment upon closing, reporting to Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and SPE Corporate Development. Holzman’s longtime producing partner, Industrial Media President and Co-Founder and President of IPC, Aaron Saidman, will join the company as Co-President, Nonfiction Entertainment, reporting to Holzman. In these roles, Holzman and Saidman will oversee day-to-day operations of SPT Nonfiction.
Speaking about the acquisitions, Ravi Ahuja said: “At SPT our focus is on leadership and quality in growing areas of television, and nonfiction content makes up a significant share of TV viewing. Acquiring Industrial Media gives us scale and expertise that nicely complements our current TV production businesses. Eli, Aaron and their talented group of producers have consistently succeeded with high-quality series and documentaries. We can’t wait to get to work with them.”
In addition to Holzman and Saidman, Industrial Media’s portfolio includes creatives such as Matt Sharp, CEO and Founder of Sharp Entertainment (TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé franchise); RJ Cutler, President, This Machine Filmworks (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry); Brien Meagher and Rhett Bachner, Founders of B17 Entertainment (Chasing the Cure); filmmaker Dawn Porter, Founder of Trilogy Films (director and executive producer of the mental health documentary series The Me You Can’t See alongside Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry); Emmy-winning filmmaker Alex Stapleton, founder of House of NonFiction (docu-series Pride for FX); and Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor, director and producer Don Cheadle, whose production company This Radicle Act, focuses on creating TV and film content for all platforms.
Holzman and Saidman added: “This is the most exciting time in the nonfiction business with more opportunity and more content being made than at any other period in the history of the genre. At Industrial, we have assembled some of our industry’s most sought-after storytellers. And now we have partnered with a leading independent supplier to the global film and television marketplace. Our ambition in working with Tony, Ravi and the Sony Pictures Television team is to supercharge our growth, amplify our ability to attract the very best talent both in front of and behind the camera, and to continue pushing the boundaries of the medium.”
Industrial Media was formed as a result of Crestview Partners and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock acquiring CORE Media Group in 2016, with UTA subsequently taking a stake in the company and advising on its turnaround. The new owners recruited Dennis Miller, a seasoned media executive, to serve as Chairman.
Crestview Partners’ Co-President Brian Cassidy, BlackRock’s director Jeff Gordon, and UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer stated: “We set out to grow Industrial Media into a preeminent television production entity and we are thrilled that Sony Pictures Television saw the value in the tremendous brand we have built. We are extremely proud of Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Matt Sharp, and Dennis Miller. Their creative energy and astute business acumen have turned Industrial Media into a major content supplier. Sony is the perfect home for Industrial Media and we look forward to seeing it continue to flourish as Sony Pictures Television Nonfiction.”
Holly Jacobs, EVP Alternative and Syndicated Programming at SPT, will support the integration of the Industrial team and help to ensure a smooth transition of SPT’s existing unscripted series before transitioning to a full-time independent producer under an overall deal with the studio. Under the deal, she will develop and executive produce original programming for the studio and continue to support SPT shows currently in production.
Ahuja concluded: “Suzanne has done a fantastic job at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and I have every confidence in her taking on this expanded role with game shows at the studio. Holly and her team have built a respected alternative and syndicated programming business over the years, creating shows that have become part of the national Zeitgeist. We look forward to continuing to produce these important programs and creating exciting new series with Holly in the future.”