Programming Vets Launch New Studio

Former Viacom executive Van Toffler and ex-Endemol global head of strategy Floris Bauer  have teamed up with Otter Media, a joint venture of The Chernin Group and AT&T, to form Gunpowder & Sky, a new “digital-first”  studio dedicated to producing and distributing edgy, narrative-driven and platform-agnostic content.

“Peter Chernin, Jesse Jacobs, Sarah Harden, AT&T and the entire Otter team are on the cutting edge of digital media,” Toffler, founder and CEO of the new venture said in a statement. Partner that with the leadership of global content executive Floris Bauer, and G&S is poised to be the next great disruptor of popular culture. We consider ourselves to be the defiant lovechild of YouTube, the MCNs and Netflix, mixed with the subversive spirit of those independent creative misfits who altered the planet from their very wired garages.”

Toffler who had ties to Viacom cable networks for more than a generation, most recently as CEO of Viacom Media Networks Music Group, left the cable company last year to start a new stage as an independent producer. 

The new venture also announced co-production and partnership deals with UK-based film and digital production studio, Realm Pictures; direct-to-consumer film studio, Supergravity Pictures; and producers including Bona Fide Productions and Adaptive Studios. Additional partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Gunpowder & Sky will develop and distribute its own original content as well as support other creators with quality storytelling and unique visual aesthetics that appeal to the global connected generation,” Bauer said in a statement. “With a real appetite to experiment, we look forward to partnering with talent and companies who are at the forefront of innovation in content creation, marketing and distribution.”

New projects range from a four-minute animation series, a slate of digital-first horror movies, 45-second viral videos featuring global sports superstars and a theatrical film about a high school trip gone bad in the White House.

 “Gunpowder & Sky is a bold move for us into what we think is the next great opportunity in content production – producing premium groundbreaking video with up-and-coming, as well as established writers, directors and talent for primary distribution on emerging platforms,” Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin said in a statement. “Between Van’s incredible track record producing content with emerging innovative talent for young audiences on new platforms and Floris’s strategy and deal-making experience across the global content landscape, this is the perfect team to build the next great independent studio.”