WIGS Co-Creators Launch New Digital Studio, Backed by Some Big Names

/ Sep 16, 2014


The Hollywood filmmakers behind the WIGS scripted drama channel are launching a new company to produce more original, digital-first and multi-platform content — and have some serious backers to help them out.

Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, co-creators of WIGS, and Jake Avnet, who serves as the channel’s chief operating officer, have unveiled Indigenous Media, which will focus on producing scripted half-hour and hour-long series — “as well as a variety of other formats” — for digital and emerging platforms worldwide.

Additionally, Indigenous will look to develop “new multi-platform content brands,” the company said. This isn’t new territory for the WIGS trio, who last year secured a marketing and distribution partnership with Fox Broadcasting for WIGS, and since expanded the female-centric brand beyond its original home on YouTube.

Backing this new venture are few more traditional media heavyweights. Agency holding company WPP and British broadcaster ITV, which just put some money behind another digital studio, are principal investors in Indigenous. Joining them are a group of additional investors that include Steven Tisch, Michael Price, Dr. Aaron Stern, and Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, which has also invested in multiple digital video businesses including the MCNs Maker Studios, MiTu, and Base79. Jon Miller, partner at Advancit and the former digital chief at News Corp, will serve as the new production company’s non-executive chairman.

As part of their investment, WPP and ITV will “contribute advertising and distribution expertise,” respectively, leaving Indigenous to focus on the actual content creation.

“Shortly after the launch of WIGS, Peter Tortorici [CEO of GroupM Entertainment Global, a division of WPP-owned GroupM] approached us with his vision for the potential of scripted content on digital platforms. We agreed and now are working to scale this model with our new investors,” said Jon Avnet in a statement.

“Jon, Rodrigo, and Jake have been first movers in executing at the highest levels of scripted content in this space and have the means, relationships, and commitment to take their efforts to scale. We look forward to helping them get there,” added Tortorici.

Much like what the trio did with WIGS, it appears Indigenous will also look to develop original content featuring notable Hollywood talent in front of and behind the camera. WIGS expansive slate of scripted dramas have starred the likes of Julia Stiles, Jennifer Garner, Anna Paquin, Maggie Grace, and Alfred Molina.

Going forward, WIGS will continue its existing partnership with Fox, with Indigenous now providing additional financing for future productions.

CAA served as the advisor for Indigenous on the above transactions.

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