Feb 2, 2021 - Economy

Law&Crime plans global expansion, podcast network

Law & Crime Network

Law&Crime Network, the media company owned by entrepreneur Dan Abrams, brought in more than $13 million in revenue last year, up from less than $3 million in 2019. It was profitable for the first time in 2020.

Why it matters: The 55-person company, founded in 2017, is using its success last year to jumpstart its international expansion, Abrams tells Axios.

  • The company is in talks with Samsung TV and other smart TV makers to distribute its OTT app on digital TVs outside of the U.S. and Canada.
  • Its live network is already available in the Caribbean in places like Bahamas and British Virgin Islands, and plans to expand to other English-speaking countries in coming months.
  • Its hit series "Killer Cases" was sold to crime-focused linear cable channels in places like the U.K., Italy, Germany, Poland and parts of Africa.

Catch up quick: Law&Crime is the biggest company within Abrams Media, which also includes sites like Mediaite, TheMarySue.com and WhiskeyRaiders.com. The network launched four years ago with an undisclosed funding round from A&E Networks.

  • Law&Crime has a live, linear TV channel available in 25 million households via partnerships with operators like Verizon FiOS. The company has a nationally-syndicated show called "Law&Crime Daily" that's distributed through Litton Entertainment, a subsidiary of Hearst.
  • Its programming features live court videos, high-profile criminal trials, celebrity crime dramas and legal analysis.
  • The company's production arm has started to produce true crime content for other networks and publishers, including A&E Networks, Lifetime, Vice and Facebook.

Between the lines: The company is in discussions with media companies about more investments as it continues to grow.

  • Abrams says he has no plans to roll up all of his media properties and sell them altogether, rather, "I think the key is finding strategic partners," he notes. "We are in those discussions."

The big picture: 2020 was a blockbuster year for the fledgling network.

  • Trial coverage has been especially successful and lucrative. "We use every piece of the trial," Abrams says. "We own the IP. We cover trials live, and then we can then use the material for other productions. We sometimes end up getting licensing fees from others looking to build off of the material for documentaries."
  • The company is focused on accruing more live programming this year. Last year it acquired its first show, the hit trial drama "Caught in Providence."

Yes, but: 2020 was a tough year for companies that run police content. Abrams' police reality series "Live PD," was pulled off the air by A&E last summer over concerns about airing the show during a time of national reckoning around the role of police.

What's next: The company is in the process of bringing on 5 new true crime podcasts to its network.

  • It began its foray into podcasting in 2019 when it partnered Court Junkie, a popular true crime podcast, to co-produce the series.
  • Abrams is also focusing on building Law & Crime's digital presence. The site gets about 6 million uniques a month and Abrams hopes to hire several more people.
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