Sep 26, 2023 - Economy

Exclusive: New fund to invest in live entertainment production

Illustration of a microphone on top of a stack of dollars.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Former CBS executive Eric Kuhn and former Microsoft executive Tre' Scott are launching Folk Media Group, a creative studio and private investment firm focused on production companies for live entertainment.

Why it matters: Live entertainment is booming in wake of the pandemic and gained even more momentum with Hollywood on strike.

Details: The new firm includes two divisions: a private investment firm focused on new production companies and a creative studio called Folk Productions. Kuhn and Scott, both Tony Award-winning producers, will manage both projects as co-producers.

  • As the industry consolidates, the duo sees an opportunity to invest in companies that support live content at the development stage, such as set designers, lighting firms, audio mixers and more, Kuhn says.
  • Folks's first creative project has been co-producing "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," an off-Broadway show starring Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott. It anticipates releasing three new projects in 2024.

Between the lines: "For the last 15 years or so, everyone's been fighting over distribution and monetization," says Scott, who is also co-CEO of the firm along with Kuhn. "We really want to focus our efforts on building on a company ... [focused on] how work is actually made."

  • "We want to back even the unsexy companies who we think are making a better marketplace," he adds.

The big picture: More investment firms are beginning to take interest in companies supporting the production of live entertainment.

  • Private equity firm Ardian acquired Audiotonix, which creates audio mixing consoles, in 2019.
  • Last year, private equity firm Connection Capital bought UK film and TV set designer 4Wood, and Great Point Studios acquired set design and services company Hudson Scenic.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify Kuhn's and Scott's dual titles as co-producers, and co-CEOs.

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