Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment — the company that acquired a controlling stake in Sony Picture Television’s Crackle streaming service — is expanding its original content ambitions.
New York-based CSS Entertainment announced that it is investing in the launch of Landmark Studio Group, an integrated entertainment company led by 30-year entertainment industry veteran David Ozer.
Landmark will develop and produce entertainment franchises spanning various genres and formats, including content earmarked for Crackle and CSS Entertainment’s other ad-supported VOD services. Ozer will serve as CEO of Landmark, headquartered in New York with offices in L.A. In addition to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Cole Strategic Partners, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based investment firm, has committed funding to Landmark.
The studio will be independent, with the ability to sell its content to any TV network or platform, while it also will create original content for Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Crackle and other properties. Landmark will control all worldwide rights and will distribute through Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media division.
Ozer most recently served as founding president of IDW Entertainment from 2013-18, overseeing the mini-studio’s operations including development and production of projects including three seasons of “Wynonna Earp” for Syfy and two seasons of “Dirk Gently” for BBC America. He also oversaw the development of “Locke & Key” and “V-Wars” for Netflix.
Before IDW, Ozer held executive-level positions at other entertainment companies, including executive VP of television at Starz Media; senior VP of domestic television at RHI Entertainment; head of worldwide distribution at Sonar; senior VP of sales at DIC Entertainment; and VP of sales at Sony Pictures Television.
Ozer “has the ability and talent to turn Landmark into a high-volume content production operation that we anticipate will provide an additional revenue stream for our company while mitigating production risk,” Bill Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO of CSSE, said in announcing the pact.
Landmark’s TV and film projects in development include: “The History of Gangster Rap,” a docu-series based on the bestselling book by Soren Baker, who serves as producer along with Jorge Hinojosa and Ice-T, and features Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and others; “The Fix,” a scripted drama series exploring sports corruption based on the book by Declan Hill, written by David Dilley and produced by Calamity Jane’s Ellen Pompeo and Laura Holstein; and “Safehaven,” a supernatural horror series based on the graphic novel about a female comic book artist whose drawings come alive to haunt her, directed by Brad Turner (“Homeland,” “24”) and by Turner, Thomas Vitale, Jessica Petelle, James Seale, Kevin Duncan and Michael Bay’s 451 Media.
Landmark also plans to produce stand-up comedy specials and animated series.
Ozer commented, “It’s incredible what Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is creating in the AVOD space, and I’m excited to launch Landmark as an important studio operation for tomorrow’s media consumers.”
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment majority-owns Crackle Plus, which owns and operates a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VOD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix and FrightPix. The company also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces long and short-form content through its Chicken Soup for the Soul Originals division and through APlus.com. CSS Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.
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