Candle Media illuminates entertainment strategy
Future. The Blackstone-backed Candle Media is revealing itself as a company focused on brand names, synergy, and independence. Candle is hoping that the mixing and matching of disparate big-name fiefdoms (Reese Witherspoon, Cocomelon, Will Smith) will break through the noise of content… but when one of those fiefdoms threatens to crumble, Candle may feel the consequences throughout its entire portfolio.
Speaking at MIPTV International Market, Candle Media co-founder Kevin Mayer is finally letting the public know what he’s up to with all that Blackstone money.
- Candle Media, the company formed by former Disney veterans Mayer and Tom Staggs (with a warchest from investment firm Blackstone), is “piecing together companies and thinking about where there are synergies.”
- As reported before, the funded companies need to hit three Cs: content, community, and commerce — all while staying independent so they can sell the content to any streamer or studio.
For example, Mayer noted that newly acquired companies Hello Sunshine (Reese Witherspoon’s company) and Moonbug Entertainment (the kid-content empire behind Cocomelon) is working on a project that capitalizes on two key things: Hello Sunshine’s position in the global book space (with Reese Book’s club) and Moonbug’s “huge inbuilt audience.” Whatever that means will arrive in the next few months.
Additionally, Candle Media figured that fans of the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Get Organized With the Home Edit (which Hello Sunshine produces) would want to buy products that the hosts use to organize… so they bought the underlying company of the goods. Boom, Candle is now in commerce.
The cost of buying celebrity
Of course, parking your money on a celebrity brand can backfire if the celeb’s image gets shattered publicly. Candle recently closed a deal to take a 10% stake in Westbrook — Will and Jada Smith’s company. After what happened at the Oscars (which we won’t get into or comment on here, you’re welcome), Mayer and Staggs are probably hard at work gameplanning how this will affect their grand plans for the company and their ability to synergize with other labels under the Candle umbrella.
Mayer sidestepped those questions at MIPTV, only saying that Westbrook is a “great company” with “great projects.” Candle Media may now be finding itself enmeshed in Will’s image revitalization before they even had a chance to monetize the relationship… back when he was burning brighter than anyone in entertainment.