Jeff Skoll’s social impact entertainment company Participant Media is pivoting away from its cable television effort three years after launching.
The company said this month that it would close its Pivot TV network by the end of the year, laying off the staff in that division, according to a company spokeswoman. Participant declined to state how many people would be affected by the closure.
“As the media landscape changes, we have been evaluating how we fulfill our mission to entertain and inspire social action around the world’s most pressing issues,” Chief Executive David Linde said in a statement. “While this conclusion was not an easy one, it is ultimately in the best interest of all our stakeholders.”
Pivot, which launched in 2013, was targeted at millennials and was home to documentary programming and original shows such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Hit Record” and “Raising McCain,” hosted by Meghan McCain. Linde attributed Pivot’s struggles to break through with audiences to the overall trend in cord-cutting among consumers.
Linde, who has led Participant since October, said the move is part of a larger restructuring effort to refocus resources to best tell stories for maximum social impact, a key ethos for the company and Skoll, who was eBay’s first employee and ranked No. 24 on the Business Journal’s list of Wealthiest Angelenos in May with a net worth of more than $2.9 billion.
The company’s film division, which produced Academy Award winner “Spotlight” last year, and its digital division, TakePart.com, continue to operate out of its Beverly Hills offices.
Los Angeles isn’t just home to the stars of Tinseltown. It also boasts the second-largest number of fastest-growing private companies in the country.
Inc. magazine just unveiled its annual Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing list, and Los Angeles is home to more than 100 of them. Several, unsurprisingly, are working in offshoots of the media industry in various content-driven fields, such as Los York (No. 8), a creative strategy firm based in Santa Monica that provides services for TV and digital projects, and up-and-comer Bento Box Entertainment (No. 3,747), which develops and produces media content for clients such as Fox Broadcasting Co. and Viacom’s MTV.
Applicants must submit financials and staff figures that have been verified by a licensed accounting professional to be considered. To qualify, companies must have been privately held as of Dec. 31 with minimum 2012 revenue of $100,000 and of at least $2 million last year.
The highest-ranked company on the overall list, L.A. subscription shopping company Loot Crate, even has media ties: Founded in 2012, the company sends a monthly themed box of items – gadgets, art, apparel, and gear – to more than 600,000 geek culture enthusiasts. It also operates digital video channels on YouTube and gaming-focused Twitch.
Studio marketing executives in charge of putting out huge superhero or comic-book tentpoles such as this summer’s “Suicide Squad” have an incentive to help businesses such as Loot Crate succeed if it helps their movies find audiences, said Patrick Hainault, vice president of marketing at Inc.
“It can take a while to create a behemoth,” said Hainault. “What happens now is one giant creates an entire ecosystem.”
Carlos Aviles has been named editor of Southern California News Group’s three Spanish-language weekly newspapers and associated digital media – La Prensa, Excélsior, and ImpactoUSA. Aviles oversees planning and development of content for Latino audiences in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. He most recently served as local editor at La Opinión, where he supervised a team of print and digital journalists, and guided special projects and investigations. … Talent agency William Morris Endeavor has acquired Westwood’s Rabineau Wachter Sanford & Gillett Literary Agency. The agency is helmed by Sylvie Rabineau and Jill Holwager Gillett, who will become co-heads of WME’s book to film/TV division. RWSG’s Geoffrey Sanford will become an agent representing his list of authors. Liza Wachter has left the firm to pursue various philanthropic and producing projects.
Staff reporter Kristin Marguerite Doidge can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.
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