Starting this month Chicago-based Towers Productions Inc (When Weather Changed History, American Justice, Animal Witness) is restructuring the company to create three new operating companies which focus on TV production, post-production and equipment rentals, respectively. The three new companies – Towers Productions, Towers Post and Towers Rentals, LLC – are all wholly owned subsidiaries of Towers Holdings, Inc, which is headed up by William Fisher, who will serve as CEO.
‘It seemed to make sense at this juncture to spin it out as a stand alone business and have it serve third party clients,’ says Fisher, who adds that there are strategic and tactical reasons for branching the company out into three separate entities. ‘Going into 2009 and facing the economic headwinds we all face, it seems to make good sense to try to find other paths to revenue.’
Towers Productions was founded in 1989 by Jonathan Towers, who is now the founding shareholder and chairman of Towers Holdings and chief creative officer of Towers Productions. ‘What I like about this is it focuses my attention as the head of a production company and it kind of brings me back to the early days in a way,’ says Towers. ‘When we first started out we didn’t have all this equipment; we didn’t have any business function. We were just a bunch of guys making TV shows. What I like about this structure is it allows me to focus on that core mission.’ That core mission, according to Towers, is to continue to make great programs for the broadcast partners they’ve been working with up until now, such as History, Animal Planet and National Geographic, but now Towers will be able to focus on the creative side while Fisher watches the business side.
Towers stresses that this move was not made out of fear of how the economic downturn could hit the company, but is simply a growth strategy. ‘We had our biggest year ever in ’08, so this is not anything but building on that success.’
Around 150 people have worked for Towers Productions in 2008, including freelance and permanent staff. As it stands, the company doesn’t have any plans to hire new staff as part of this restructuring. Rather, the main goal of this reorganization is to create efficiencies within the company. Mike Schmiedeler is now the managing director of Towers Productions, Trevor Park is managing director of Towers Rentals and Corrine Whitney is the managing director of Towers Post. The five-person development team sits inside the production company and is headed up by Peter Marks.