WildBrain has appointed Steve Manners to drive a new business development initiative designed to help licensors and content creators reach consumer audiences through YouTube.
In the newly created role, Manners will work with clients to build brand management programmes that leverage the blended expertise of WildBrain’s established consumer products licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG, and its WildBrain Spark network and studio.
According to the firm the initiative reflects WildBrain’s position to “offer a full approach to brand management and monetisation through its expertise in consumer products licensing, content creation, and digital distribution.”
Maarten Weck, EVP and managing director at WildBrain CPLG, said: “We have been working closely with our colleagues at WildBrain Spark as the licensing industry becomes increasingly attuned of the potential of YouTube and other digital platforms for launching, supporting or reinvigorating IP.
“Steve is the ideal person to spearhead business initiatives that help inform and support our clients as they look to navigate the digital landscape, and his new role will help maximise the synergies across our businesses.”
Jon Gisby, managing director at WildBrain Spark, added: “WildBrain Spark’s expertise in digital distribution and content creation can help IP owners and their licensees engage audiences across the world, and maximise the return on their marketing investments.
“With approximately four billion views per month on our YouTube network, we have an abundance of insights and data that can drive consumer products strategies and campaigns. In addition, we assist licensors in creating ‘always on’ content delivery on YouTube to further engage consumers and support brand activity, so it’s a natural step to harmonise our offering for IP owners.
“Steve’s experience and relationships in the licensing world will enable us to enhance our services and forge expanded and new partnerships.”
As VP, business development WildBrain CPLG and WildBrain Spark, Manners will report to Weck and Gisby. He boasts nearly 30 years’ experience in consumer products. Since 2010, he has been a key member of the management team that has seen WildBrain CPLG become one of the world’s top consumer products licensing agencies.
Manners has played an integral role at the agency in overseeing the successful programmes of key licensors and also securing new representation. Prior to CPLG, he held senior positions at 20th Century Fox, Universal and Beanstalk.
Manners added: “There is a huge opportunity for IP owners in harnessing the expertise, tools and reach of both WildBrain CPLG and WildBrain Spark – it’s a very exciting time to be at the forefront of this bold new world.
“We are uniquely positioned to offer combined expertise and services that benefit those coming from the AVOD-first space to consumer products, as well as those licensors looking to leverage YouTube as a tool.”