Warner Music Mints Original Programming Division

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Alongside potentially heavy staffing changes, Warner Music Group is also bolstering newer business units.

Just recently, the major label announced the creation of Den of Thieves, a unit that will generate original programming across a number of platforms.  The fresh division will develop music for use within network, cable, DVD, broadband and mobile platforms, part of a diversified play.  The LA-based group will be led by Jesse Ignjatovic, a longtime MTV executive responsible for numerous series; and Evan Prager, a video-focused executive with prior stints at Epic Records and the Island Def Jam Music Group.  Both executives will interface with Warner Music labels to develop customized content and fresh opportunities, though the pair will also craft original material for various placement and licensing opportunities.  “As we continue our evolution as a music-based content company, it is essential to bring in-house the expertise to create the highest quality music-based original programming,” explained Lyor Cohen, chairman and chief executive of US Recorded Music at Warner Music Group.

Alongside Cohen, executives Craig Kallman, Julie Greenwald and Tom Whalley will also supervise the effort.  “Den of Thieves will be a fantastic way to extend the reach of our artists and music into new territory, while at the same time vastly expanding the range of content that we are able to generate within our own house,” said Greenwald.  Den of Thieves will be represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a relationship that will shop the content throughout Hollywood.  For Warner, the move shifts the emphasis away from a distressed CD-to-consumer channel, and broadens the creative approach accordingly.  That means more formats, more possibilities, and potentially more revenue for the group.  The initiative was first announced on Monday.