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Matthew Blake

Stories by Matthew

Streaming Services Put the Spotlight on Hollywood

Special Edition: LA500

Executives drive content production growth in L.A.

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Venture Firms Fall Short on Diversity

FINANCE: Local VCs see untapped potential

For local VC firms, focus on diversity can be a business boost.

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Expenses Outpace Revenue for Upstart Super League

Super League Gaming Inc. distinguished itself among esports companies – and most start-ups for that matter – by going public earlier this year, and on May 14 Super League released its inaugural earnings report.

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West Lane Capital Partners Takes Majority Share in Cosmetics Outfit

West Lane Capital Partners, a Sawtelle-headquartered private equity company, said May 13 that it has taken a majority stake in Fantasy Files Group, a San Fernando-headquartered cosmetics company.

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LATV Hires First Digital Chief

Network aims to offer digital content to millennials

A venerable cable television station that caters to the Latino audience is pivoting to more digital content.

WGA Standoff with Talent Agents Continues

Dispute drags on as Hollywood writers demand new agreement

WGA standoff with talent agents drags on.

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Occidental’s Business Bolstered

105-year-old firm recently acquired Paladin Cine

It’s getting harder to find sound stage space to make movies and television shows in L.A. County

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Disney RSN Deal Panned

MEDIA: Sinclair’s $10.6B sports network bid deemed low

Disney’s sports networks sale draws complaints.

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Group Behind Grammys Names Deborah Dugan President

The Recording Academy, the Santa Monica-headquartered association behind the Grammy Awards, has named Deborah Dugan president, replacing Neil Portnow, effective Aug. 1.

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An Esports IPO Worth Watching

Super League’s fate could provide insight for other gaming upstarts

Super League poised for growth but is burning through money.

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Live Nation Posts Modest Q1 Loss

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. reported a thorn in its normally rosy financial picture, reporting a net loss of $55.2 million for the first quarter of 2019.

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Immortals Raises $30M, Buys Brazilian Company

Esports company Immortals said May 1 that it raised $30 million and acquired Gamers Club, a Brazilian-based matchmaking platform.

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Pride Media Names Interim Chief Executive Amid Coyle Departure

Pride Media, owner of iconic LGBTQ publications “Out” and the “Advocate,” on April 18 named Orlando Reece to the position of interim chief executive hours after the departure of chief executive Nathan Coyle.

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Live Nation Buys Key SoCal Venues

Live entertainment titan Live Nation Entertainment Inc. purchased the Santa Ana Observatory music hall and is finalizing a buy of the San Diego North Park Observatory, according to an April 12 press release.

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UPDATED: Writers Guild Sues Biggest Talent Agencies

The Writers Guild of America filed a lawsuit against Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies April 17 that alleges packaging fees run afoul of state law.

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Alex Meruelo’s Media Company Buys KLOS-FM

Billionaire realtor, restauranteur, casino owner – and FM radio investor – Alex Meruelo’s Meruelo Group announced April 15 that it entered into agreement to purchase KLOS-FM from Cumulus Media Inc.

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Thousands of Talent Agents Fired, as Dispute With Writers Goes On

The Writer’s Guild of America fired thousands of Hollywood talent agents April 13, because the agencies did not agree to a code of conduct proposed by the screenwriter’s union.

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Deadline Approaches on WGA’s Threat to Fire Talent Agents

The Writer’s Guild of America declared April 12 that their members will fire thousands of Hollywood talent agents if the talent agencies do not agree to the writer’s code of conduct by the end of day.

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Radio Stations Cut Back on Jackson’s Music

Entertainment: Plays drop after HBO documentary alleging sexual abuse

Fallout from Michael Jackson doc spreads to L.A. radiowaves.

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Private Equity Shines Spotlight on Talent Reps


Firms take major stakes in CAA, Endeavor, UTA and push for profitability

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PE Influence Molds Agencies

ENTERTAINMENT: WGA dispute sheds light on model

Unions take issue with agencies’ new direction.

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Sony Sells Controlling Stake in Crackle

Sony Pictures Television sold its majority share of venerable streaming service Crackle Inc. to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc., according to a March 28 announcement.

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TPG Capital Buys Payroll Processor Entertainment Partners

TPG Capital continued its expansion into Hollywood, announcing in a March 26 press release that it acquired Entertainment Partners, a Burbank-headquartered payroll processing company that calls itself, “the global leader in entertainment payroll.”

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Otter Caught in Reshuffle

ENTERTAINMENT: Role uncertain amid AT&T deal

AT&T Inc.’s plunge into entertainment will remold many businesses in its orbit

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Songtradr Announces $12 Million Funding Round

West Hollywood-headquartered company Songtradr Inc. announced March 21 it raised $12 million, which the company said totaled its outside funding to $21.5 million.

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SquadUp Shoots for High End

EVENTS: Ticketing firm touts nimbler tech, lower fee

New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival switched its ticket vendor last summer from Eventbrite Inc. to SquadUp Inc., a relatively new entrant to the ticket vending market.

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Alison Ressler’s penchant for complex M&A work propelled her to top of legal profession

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Leaf Reports Growth Buds

MEDIA: Internet publisher sees positive earnings trend

After years of declining revenue and being derided as a “content farm,” Leaf Group Ltd. returned to budding financial gains in 2018.

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Saban Terminates Panavision Purchase

One of the biggest entertainment acquisitions announced last year has been abandoned.

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UMG Rides Streaming Music Wave

ENTERTAINMENT: Label’s rise gives it $50B valuation

Music streaming spurs $50B valuation for Universal Music Group.

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Live Nation Announces Growth, Explores Real Estate, Bigger Ticket Fees

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. posted another year of double-digit revenue growth in 2018, according to the company’s annual report released Feb. 28, and laid out further growth strategies in an accompanying earnings call.

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Pluto TV Finds Profitable Path

MEDIA: Streaming service cashes out in $340M deal

The website and app for Pluto TV went live on April Fools’ Day 2014, showcasing streaming television channels most people had never heard of.

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Los Angeles Times Labor Dispute Escalates

The Los Angeles Times is facing an escalating labor quarrel that is a mounting obstacle to the 400-plus member Los Angeles Times Guild’s first collective bargaining agreement.

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Special Report: Entertainment

Not for Los Angeles venues, which go dark to avoid competing with awards show

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Special Report: Entertainment


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Super Bowl Perk for Rams?

SPORTS: Revenue share plan waters down profits

Will Rams’ Super Bowl run be a fiscal touchdown?

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AEG Deal Creates Events Giant

ENTERTAINMENT: Entity will handle event logistics at more than 300 venues

AEG, SMG form vast venue venture.

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Merger Involving AEG Creates a Venue Management Giant in LA

Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. announced Feb. 7 that its subsidiary AEG Facilities has merged with facility operator SMG, creating a standalone, Los Angeles-headquartered ASM Global, which will manage hundreds of arena, amphitheaters, and other venues across the world.

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Otis Report Notes Economic Growth in Several of L.A.’s Creative Industries

The creative industry generated in 2017 $77.9 billion in labor income and $207.8 billion in economic output, according to a sweeping 254-page report released Feb. 1 by the Otis College of Art and Design.

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Soon-Shiong Forgoes Tribune Activist Role

SEC filing shows billionaire agrees not to meddle with board, shareholder votes

Patrick Soon-Shiong won’t take more active role at Tribune.

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Activision Under Siege

MEDIA: Split with Bungie prompts stock drop, lawsuits

Stormy times for Activision Blizzard after breakup with Bungie.

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Saban Trades Power Rangers for Panavision

Billionaire sells rights to cult TV hit, taking camera co. public

Haim Saban bet on Old Hollywood with Panavision deal.

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TheLAnd Rises in Weekly’s Wake

MEDIA: LA Weekly dwindles as new competition enters fray

Changes continue at LA Weekly.

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Viacom Buys Pluto TV, Entering Streaming Derby

Viacom Inc. threw its hat into the streaming ring Jan. 22, announcing that it had bought Los Angeles’s Pluto Inc. for $345 million.

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Live Nation Deal Probed

ENTERTAINMENT: Irish officials scrutinize purchase

Bump in road for Live Nation’s global expansion plans.

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Lions Gate Cuts Jobs, Production Co. Deal

Studio axes employees, ends partnership deal with Codeblack Films

Lions Gate layoffs spark speculation about movie studio’s future.

Endeavor Joins Streaming Fray

Beverly Hills-headquartered Endeavor has formed Endeavor Streaming as a platform for the company’s streaming products such as professional wrestling and ultimate fighting, the company announced in a press release Jan. 14.

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Long Road for Short Videos

MEDIA: Fiction Riot looks to make name in nascent market

Fiction Riot looks to jump into short-form video market.

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UTA EXEC Named to UC Regenys

Gov. Jerry Brown named Jonathan “Jay” Sures, co-president of United Talent Agency, to the University of California Board of Regents

UPDATED: Broker Faces Lifetime Ban

The recently departed chairman and majority owner of a Beverly Hills investment banking and brokerage firm has been banned for life by the brokerage industry, according to a Jan. 8 regulatory filing.

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