FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sony Pictures Television to Acquire Industrial Media
Acquisition Significantly Expands the Studio’s Footprint and Capabilities in Nonfiction & Documentary Television Production
Studio Appoints Suzanne Prete as Head of Game Show Production Division
CULVER CITY, CA, March 3, 2022 – Sony Pictures Television (“SPT”), a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (“SPE”), today announced an agreement has been signed to acquire Industrial Media, one of the foremost independent nonfiction production companies. SPT also announced the formation of a new Game Show production division to be led by longtime SPT executive, Suzanne Prete.
Industrial Media’s award-winning 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. Industrial Media companies produce over 100 programs for audiences worldwide. Titles include the hit 90 Day Fiancé franchise for TLC, Indian Matchmaking for Netflix, the GLAAD Media Award winning We’re Here for HBO, The Curse of Von Dutch and The D’Amelio Show for Hulu, Secrets of Playboy for A&E, Selena+Chef and Craftopia for HBO Max, So You Think You Can Dance for FOX, and American Idol for ABC (which 19 Entertainment co-produces).
The acquisition will add significant size and scale, as well as expanded capabilities to SPT’s nonfiction operation. 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. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Industrial Media CEO and founder & 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 & 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.
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.”
Since Holzman and Saidman took the lead at Industrial Media three years ago, the company has nearly doubled in size and the multi-Emmy winning founders remain among the most prolific producers and respected management teams working in nonfiction today. In addition to Holzman and Saidman, Industrial Media’s portfolio includes powerhouse creatives such as Matt Sharp, CEO and Founder of Sharp Entertainment (TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé franchise, Travel Channel’s Man V. Food); RJ Cutler, President, This Machine Filmworks (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, currently streaming on Apple TV+); Brien Meagher and Rhett Bachner, Founders of B17 Entertainment (Chasing the Cure, Craftopia, Thanks a Million); award-winning 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.
In a joint statement, Holzman and Saidman said: “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. In 2018, CORE acquired The Intellectual Property Corporation with its founders Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman appointed CEO and President, respectively, and the company was renamed Industrial Media. Since then, Industrial Media’s revenue and profits have soared, and it has become one of the most successful non-fiction production companies in the US.
In a joint statement, Crestview Partners’ Co-President Brian Cassidy, BlackRock’s director Jeff Gordon, and UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said: “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.”
Additionally, the studio announced that Suzanne Prete, who currently oversees Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, will now add oversight of other game shows produced by SPT in her new role as Executive Vice President of a newly formed Game Show Production division, reporting to Ahuja. Prete and her team will focus on developing and producing new game show content, as well as continuing to manage the Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune franchises.
Prete joined SPT in 1995. She most recently served as EVP, Business & Strategy, overseeing the business operations of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, as well as developing new and innovative ways to expand the shows’ global footprint. Prior to this role, she was SVP of Global Licensing & Brand Management for the two iconic game shows, achieving considerable growth in the ancillary businesses through strategic licensing deals, in-show integrations, and business partnerships. Notably, Prete was responsible for licensing the game show’s IP to IGT Slots, resulting in great success within the lottery, slot machine, and online gaming spaces.
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. Since establishing the studio’s alternative programming division 15 years ago, Jacobs and her team have produced long-running shows including the Emmy-winning series Shark Tank and The Dr. Oz Show, The $100,000 Pyramid, as well as original series Murder House Flip and Men in Kilts, and primetime specials Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! National College Championship.
Ahuja added: “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.”
About Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global content business, operating a robust portfolio of wholly-owned and joint-venture production companies across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, as well as linear and digital channels around the world. SPT is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. Sony Pictures Television operates dozens of wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies around the world. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, Sony Pictures International Productions, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.
About Industrial Media
Industrial Media is an independent production group with ownership interests and partnerships in production companies Sharp Entertainment, The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), B17 Entertainment, 19 Entertainment, This Machine, This Radicle Act, Trilogy Films, and House of NonFiction. Industrial Media companies create and produce multi-platform programming of various genres for audiences worldwide, currently totally more than 100 series across 35 networks. Additionally, industrial Media’s 19 Recordings has launched the music careers of platinum artists including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Phillip Phillips, Lauren Alaina; and more recently “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy along with prior contestants wuch as Gabby Barrett, Laci Kaye Booth, Francisco Martin, and Julia Gargano. For more details, visit www.industrial-media.com.