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Candle Media, the firm run by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has bought social media creative company ATTN: for $100 million.
Los Angeles-based ATTN: (pronounced “attention”) produces content geared toward Gen Z and millennial viewers. The company has created original series for Facebook, TikTok, and Twitch, as well as TV networks like ABC and NBC, and streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. Launched in 2014, ATTN:’s brand studio and creative agency has also worked with Amazon, Ford and Google, among others.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source familiar with the deal said Tuesday that Candle Media is paying $100 million in cash and stock for ATTN:. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.
“ATTN: has a deep, digital-native understanding for how to cut through the noise and reach today’s audiences through engaging content on social media,” co-CEOs and co-chairmen Mayer and Staggs said in a statement.
Candle Media, backed by investment giant Blackrock, has scooped up three media companies since launching last year: kids’ programming provider Moonbug Entertainment for $3 billion in November; a majority stake in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine for $900 million in August; and Faraway Road Productions for under $50 million in January. The company also took a minority stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook in January
Candle Media aims to help ATTN: grow as it creates more original content and expands its brand services, including with its recently launched TikTok Studio. ATTN:’s co-founders, Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, along with the company’s senior management team, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the 140-person company.
“ATTN:’s mission has always been to use creative and clever storytelling to make important issues more digestible for mass audiences,” Segal and Moreno said in a statement. “Partnering with Candle and their growing, talented team of creators will allow us to further this mission in a whole new way, accelerating our growth and reaching even more people with what we create.”
Disney Plus just showed up Netflix.
After Netflix stunned Wall Street by losing subscribers for the first time in a decade, Disney said Wednesday that its flagship streaming service is still chugging along nicely. Disney Plus added 7.9 million paying customers during the second quarter of fiscal 2022, beating Wall Street’s expectations of about 5 million. That brings Disney Plus to 137.7 million total subscribers.
The Burbank-based media giant’s strong showing comes amid growing concerns with the streaming business. Netflix’s poor earnings and the rapid demise of CNN Plus have rattled investors, who previously rewarded entertainment and tech titans that spent billions to launch streaming platforms and added many subscribers during the pandemic.
Now, Netflix’s stock has plunged 70% over the last six months. The company lost 200,000 subscribers during its first quarter and expects to lose 2 million more in the current quarter. Netflix blamed the subscriber slowdown on increased competition, password sharing and the war in Ukraine, among other things. And recent surveys show consumers are canceling subscriptions they believe are too costly.
“The business model isn’t as attractive as once thought due to the intensifying competition for time, attention and consumer spending,” media analysts Robert Fishman and Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson wrote in a recent report.
The problems facing Netflix don’t seem to be holding back Disney Plus—at least not yet. Executives told analysts that the service had a “stronger than expected” first half of the fiscal year and that it is expected to add more subscribers during the final six months, though maybe not by much. The company’s goal of hitting at least 230 million Disney Plus subscribers by 2024 is still on track, CEO Bob Chapek said.
“The growth of the platform since its launch reinforces its unique nature. Quite simply, we believe Disney Plus is one of a kind,” Chapek said. He later touted that, despite Disney’s family-friendly branding, almost half of Disney Plus subscribers were adults without kids.
Disney Plus may still be growing, but streaming is costing the company a lot of money. Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, which also includes Hulu and ESPN Plus, lost $887 million during the second quarter—more than triple the loss from a year ago. Disney executives expect its flagship service to become profitable in 2024.
Overall, Disney’s revenues rose 23% year-over-year to $19.2 billion during the second quarter. Net profits were down 48% to $470 million.
Despite avoiding Netflix’s fate—for now—Wall Street wasn’t impressed. The company’s shares slid more than 2%, to $102.75, as of 3:09 p.m. PT in after-hours trading.
- Disney Plus: More Than Half of Subscribers Don't Have Kids - dot.LA ›
- Disney Plus Subscribers Are Growing Faster Than Expected - dot.LA ›
“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (email@example.com). Please send job changes and personnel moves to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dating app conglomerate and Tinder parent company Match Group tapped former Zynga president Bernard Kim as chief executive officer.
Performio, an enterprise-grade sales commission software solution company, appointed former Salesforce executive Neil Graham as chief revenue officer and former Datometry vice president of engineering Dmitri Korablev as chief technology officer.
Sunstone Management, a venture capital firm, added Mike Stone as chief investment officer. Stone previously served as vice president at Morgan Stanley.
Trusaic, a pay equity software provider, tapped soccer icon and social activist Megan Rapinoe as chief equality officer and strategic partner to fight gender and racial wage inequality. She joins Trusaic’s newly-formed “E-suite,” a reimagining of traditional C-suites that acknowledges the role leadership plays in workplace equality.
Former BYD executive Samuel Kang joined Sienza Energy, a Caltech-incubated battery company, as chief operating officer.
Space simulation and analytics products company Slingshot Aerospace hired Erin Defossé as chief operating officer and promoted Dr. Belinda Marchand to chief scientist. Prior to their roles, Defossé served as chief product officer at Aceable, while Marchand served as the director of astrodynamics and space systems at Slingshot.
Tanya Lynch joined network provider Boingo Wireless as vice president of human resources. Lynch previously served as director of HR at Mouser Electronics and vice president of HR at the Neiman Marcus Group.
Video game developer Blizzard Entertainment hired Jessica Martinez as its first vice president, head of culture. Martinez previously served as director of strategic operations at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
Health care company The Mighty hired Matthew Michelson as president. Michelson previously served as president of Genesis AI at Genesis Research.
Talent agency UTA hired Nick Axelrod as vice president in its ventures department. Axelrod co-founded Courtney Cox’s homecare brand Homecourt, where he was the head of creative and product development.
Spotter, a startup that finances YouTube creators, welcomed Monica Khan as head of creator community and Derek Reynolds as executive vice president of legal and business affairs. Both YouTube veterans, Khan was previously a strategic partner manager at the video-streaming platform, while Reynolds served as head of business affairs for YouTube Originals.
Hyperdraft, an AI-powered software platform for lawyers, added Grindr data privacy and security executive Kelly Peterson Miranda to its advisory board.