Whistle buys digital entertainment studio New Form

Whistle, a sports and entertainment media brand, has acquired Los Angeles-based New Form, a digital entertainment studio. No financial terms were disclosed. Whistle’s backers include Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, Aser Media, Liberty Global, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, TEGNA, Beringea and Emil Capital.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Whistle, the global sports and entertainment media brand that creates, curates and distributes content for young audiences, announced today that it acquired New Form, a highly acclaimed digital entertainment studio based in Los Angeles. The acquisition immediately strengthens the combined company’s content slate and positions it to bring a robust youth entertainment portfolio to existing and new partners. Along with Whistle’s recent Series D equity round and signing with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation, this move accelerates Whistle’s efforts to scale its development and production capabilities and create a balanced collection of premium original scripted and unscripted content.

This deal follows a number of recent high-profile content announcements from both companies including Whistle’s first documentary series for Quibi called “Benedict Men,” executive produced by Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media, and New Form’s daily docuseries for Facebook Watch, “365 Days of Love,” featuring and executive produced by Sofia Vergara.

“It was a great match from the start. Both companies excel at discovering emerging narratives and storytelling,” said John West, Whistle’s CEO and founder. “With New Form’s content slate, we are excited to build a bigger portfolio to serve our ever-growing global audience and distribution partners.”

Whistle and New Form expect to realize meaningful synergies through combined owned and operated IP franchises which drive billions of watch-time minutes, shared content creation capabilities within sports and entertainment, and increased access to top talent through Whistle’s creator network and the companies’ respective CAA affiliation. New Form’s resources will be expanded with access to Whistle’s research & insights and brand partnerships teams and ability to leverage Whistle’s massive audience of over 518 million subscribers, followers and fans–who, last month alone, generated 2.1 billion views across its channels. Whistle looks to expand already successful short-form series franchises like “Whistle Worthy” and “No Days Off” and New Form’s “TXT Stories,” which are filmed entirely through groupchat, to long-form IP by capitalizing on New Form’s proven success with series such as “Mr. Student Body President” and “Final Space.”

New Form’s current stakeholders–which include Discovery, ITV, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Jim Wiatt, Craig Jacobson, Ed Wilson and Michael Rosenberg–became shareholders of Whistle through the transaction. Since launching in 2014, Whistle has raised over $100 million from investors including Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, Aser Media, Liberty Global, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, TEGNA, Beringea and Emil Capital.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this venture with our friends at Whistle and New Form,” said Bruce Campbell, chief development, distribution and legal officer for Discovery. “They are proven winners, and as a combined company, they will only continue to grow at an accelerated rate.”

Kathleen Grace, New Form’s CEO and JC Cangilla, COO, have built the company since it was founded in 2014. Grace and the creative team, who developed and produced 30+ original series in the past four years, will continue to lead the production and development slate and will take on new projects under the Whistle leadership. All productions currently in the works will proceed as planned. Grace will report to Michael Cohen, president of Whistle.

“New Form’s track record for producing quality content continues as we work with the best in the business, from TBS to Facebook Watch. We believe we will be stronger as we tap into Whistle’s experienced creators to develop premium series for all platforms and further accelerate the growth of our business,” said Grace.

About Whistle
Whistle is a sports and entertainment company that creates, curates and distributes original content. Blending proprietary insights, a diverse creator community and unparalleled production capabilities, Whistle fosters a spirit of positivity that entertains and inspires its vast and highly-engaged global audience. Join the Whistle community across all platforms to discover everything from scripted shows to the latest social video trends.

For more information, visit whistlesports.com.

About New Form
New Form is an entertainment studio redefining the way stories are developed, packaged and distributed by producing original narratives that transcend formats and platforms. New Form creates premium video content that resonates with young audiences using data-driven insights to influence its content strategy. Learn more at newform.com.