People/Biz

Steve Michaels buys Asylum back, launches The Content Group

Veteran producer and entrepreneur Steve Michaels has bought back the production company he founded in 2003, Asylum Entertainment, and launched a creative collective with Asylum being the first partnership under The Content ...
June 5, 2018

Veteran producer and entrepreneur Steve Michaels has bought back the production company he founded in 2003, Asylum Entertainment, and launched a creative collective with Asylum being the first partnership under The Content Group (TCG) umbrella.

Legendary Entertainment had previously acquired a 100% stake in Asylum in 2014, which then joined Legendary Television & Digital Media, the division of Legendary Entertainment charged with producing programming across multiple platforms on a global basis. Michaels is now the sole owner of the prodco.Asylum has produced multiple Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 docs for ESPN, the Emmy-winning The Kennedys for Reelz, National Geographic’s Breakthrough, TLC’s Nate & Jeremiah, among others.

Financial terms for Michaels’ purchase were not disclosed.

Michaels (pictured left) serves as CEO of The Content Group and will utilize the Asylum slate, staff and infrastructure to fuel TCG’s launch. Former Asylum exec Ryann Lauckner (right), meanwhile, will join the company as president. Jonathan KochMichaels’ longtime partner in Asylum, will be onboard as chief strategic advisor. Other executives transitioning from Asylum Entertainment to The Content Group include James Macnab, SVP, content; Jesse Surovell, VP of content strategy; and Patti Duce, SVP of production and operations.

TCG’s business model will focus on having an open partnership with creators, and feature non-exclusive deals with options for short- and long-term returns.

For the short-term, partners will benefit through competitive executive producer fee splits, share of net project profits, aggressive payment schedules and a streamlined company structure aimed to get to the market faster. The company’s economic model’s long-term benefit for all TCG contributors to gain additional profits at the point of company transaction.

“We are extremely excited to embrace a flexible, project-driven business model, crafted to encourage creative partners to earn profits as if they had equity in a content company they started themselves,” said Michaels in a statement. “This strategy is buoyed by increased transparency and leans into the assets of our company and our people.”

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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