Private Asset Management Magazine: Managed-risk movie investments set to soar

Wade Bradley, CEO of Media Society

Wade Bradley, CEO of Media Society

By Stephanie Bartup | Private Asset Management Magazine

The number of HNWIs investing in the film industry is expected to grow further, as the CEO of one entertainment investor community told PAM that he expects to have 10,000 affluent investors on his platform by May.

Wade Bradley, founder of members-only film and theater platform Media Society, said that he had witnessed a significant rise in the amount of interest in investing in films over the past few years, given the relative accessibility that now allows high-net-worth clients to partner with A-level production teams.

“Most of our members are passionate about the movie business, and when they choose to invest they get their name listed as an executive producer on the credits, they attend the premiere – it’s fulfilling a lot of peoples’ dreams,” says Bradley.

He adds that Media Society offers potential investors a ‘risk-managed’ approach to investing in the arts, whereby its studio oversees the project from beginning to end.

“There’s a high level of risk mitigation; we firstly ensure that there is a great producer attached, that it’s a compelling project, and then we’ll decide to get involved and start by generating foreign pre-sales,” he explains.

“Having complete transparency with our investors is critical,” he adds. “An estimated ten thousand films are made every year – we make sure ours have the theatrical marketing and distribution capital behind them; so they’re always in the top 4%.”

Bradley, who is also the president of Altar Identity Studios, the entertainment co-production and financing subsidiary of Media Society, spent 30 years in the venture capital and finance industries before founding Media Society in 2012.

The firm has just completed its latest project, Big Stone Gap, which stars Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg, and recently made its first venture into stage productions by providing financing for Broadway musical First Date now being licensed globally by Rodgers & Hammerstein Group.

He says that investors range from multi-family offices to medical professionals, real estate developers and entrepreneurs, each of whom must reach the minimum investment requirement of $150,000. Investor numbers are in the thousands, he confirms, but adds that he expects the firm’s slate financing model to have attracted more than 10,000 affluent investors by May 2015.

“Our feature film projects target audience markets with insatiable appetites or markets that are highly underserved,” he says. “And our community members want to enjoy their wealth, but at the same time, make a solid investment. Generally, with this model, 98% of the returns are distributed to the investors within 36 months of initiating a production. Passionate managed-risk investing is really growing – I don’t see our member numbers peaking anytime soon.”