Authentic Brands Group has launched Authentic Studios, which aims to develop and produce a wide range of film/TV and commercial content from the company’s portfolio. Based in Beverly Hills, Authentic Studios will kick off as the home to Shaquille O’Neal’s Jersey Legends, David Beckham’s Studio 99, Sports Illustrated Studios and Authentic Productions.
Authentic Studios plans to mine Authentic’s portfolio of IP to develop programming for television, film and streaming platforms; it also will also hit the marketplace to search for additional material to develop and produce, and aims to involved in co-production and financing of third-party original content.
Authentic owns the likeness rights to brands such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, David Beckham and Sports Illustrated. It also owns and manages the brand rights to Reebok, Juicy Couture, Ted Baker, Brooks Brothers, Forever 21 and more.
News comes following Authentic’s involvement last year in the premiere of the theatrical film “Elvis” and Netflix’s “Agent Elvis,” and its further expansion in entertainment.
“Authentic Studios is unique in its ability to leverage Authentic’s in-house roster of brands and a deep catalog of IP to develop and produce content in all forms with 360-rights control,” said Colin Smeeton, president of Authentic Studios, in a statement. “Each of our four labels features a style of storytelling resulting in compelling content for all traditional and streaming mediums.”
Smeeton came to Authentic more than seven years ago after being among the key executives who helped craft Shaquille O’Neal’s personal brand expansion, strategic partnerships and new business ventures. He has since been at the forefront of developing Authentic’s entertainment business. Smeeton was most recently credited as an executive producer on “Shaq” for HBO. His catalog includes projects for Lionsgate, ABC, ESPN, TNT and Netflix.
UK media executive Nicola Howson, who co-founded Studio 99 with David Beckham and David Gardner, will continue to lead the business from Authentic’s London office, and Jersey Legends co-founder Mike Parris will continue to run the day-to-day business alongside Smeeton and serve as an executive producer for its content.
Studio 99’s upcoming projects include Disney+’s doc “World War Shoe,” as well as a biopic about world snooker star Ronnie O’ Sullivan, a Netflix doc series about the life and career of David Beckham; and unannounced series for Amazon and ESPN. Sports Illustrated Studios is set to produce an HBO documentary about sexual abuse within the Ohio State wrestling program, based on a Sports Illustrated story. Both O’Neal’s Jersey Legends and Beckham’s Studio 99 also run commercial divisions.