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What exactly is a studio?

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Spark! Studios insights

Pay attention to opening credits

Growing up, I remember opening segments before any movie or cartoon that I went to watch in the theatre started, giving credit to one studio or another. Names like Walt Disney, Warner Bros, DreamWorks, and 20th Century Studios were household names – but we didn’t really know (or at least, I can speak for myself and say that *I* didn’t) what role they had to play with what I was about to watch.

As I became more familiar with the media industry as an adult, I realized that these studios were basically production companies. Meaning, they put together “the show” in terms of both funding and operations.

These days, it seems like studios have become the target of acquisition by non-media companies as a means to get into the content world – and there have been some sweet, sweet deals in the works!

Spark! with Shereen

Celeb-backed studios are on trend

Take Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine, for example, which just recently got bought out by an anonymous Blackstone-backed media company for $900m. That makes it *almost* a unicorn company (which is a term often given to startups who reach a valuation of $1b) – not too bad for Elle Woods. That being said, studios can rake in billions in value though – take A24, for example, the boutique studio which is exploring a sale of $3b.

On that note, celebrity-backed studios are becoming a thing. Even celebs famed in non-traditional media industries want in. Take LeBron James, for example, who owns a production company – SpringHill Entertainment. The company is rumored to also be exploring a sale, and its valuation is not too shy of Hello Sunshine’s at $750m.

Media companies do media harder

And for those who are not acquiring, they’re certainly investing internally. Take Netflix, for example, which recently announced that it’s opening a massive TV and film studio in Brooklyn, New York, that’s going to cost them $100m. The space will have stages and editing suites galore. If anyone can get us an access pass to start producing some Spark! content over there, give us a shout!

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