Popsugar has built its reputation as a top media brand for millennial women thanks to its expertise on digital platforms, where it claims its content gathers 3.1 billion monthly views. At its presentation at the 2017 NewFronts, Popsugar continued its commitment to online video, but it also signaled its growing interest in the traditional media world. It has launched a movie unit called Popsugar Films and has invested in a new production company called Toy Rocket, which will create shows for TV and beyond.
The first project in the Popsugar Films pipeline is a partnership with Lionsgate, Untitled Entertainment, Cinestar Pictures, and executive producer Zoe Saldana. Titled Honored, it is a high school drama that will star Meghan Rienks, a social media maven who has used her digital success to land several acting roles. “Popsugar Films will be a highly selective movie label focusing on projects we know will resonate with our audience,” said Matthew Rodrigues, who co-hosted Popsugar’s NewFronts event.
On the TV front, Toy Rocket is led by two experiences executives: Tom Huffman, formerly of Tribune Broadcasting and VH1, and Jane Yusim, formerly of ITV Entertainment. The studio’s goal is to produce long-form shows not just for TV but also for streaming video platforms and Popsugar itself. Its first slate will include an unusual blend of unboxing videos and horror, a series in which host Arielle Vandenberg gives kids a chance to review haute cuisine, and a take on the “modern tech satire anthology” genre characterized by shows like Black Mirror and Dimension 404.
While it sets its sights on new horizons, Popsugar will continue to create videos for the digital platforms where its viewers currently reside. In doing so, it will work with a number of notable partners, including Complex Networks and Portal A. Here, via a press release, is a list of all the upcoming projects the female-focused media company discussed as part of its NewFronts pitch:
The moments that don’t break us, make us. In this documentary series, successful female entrepreneurs share stories of their “best failure” — what went wrong, what they learned, and how overcoming them enabled them to go on to much greater heights. Hosted by CFDA-honored fashion designer Misha Nonoo, Failing Forward will cover the breadth of career mishaps, screwups, and pivots — and inspire us all to embrace the power of failure in living our best life.
From Where We Stand
In From Where We Stand, power couples who are crushing it in their respective industries — across food, fashion, media, politics, art, tech, and more — put their relationships in the spotlight to answer bigger universal questions about love, life, and work. They’ll tackle the hard stuff: what “having it all” really means, their position on gender roles, and #relationshipgoals. From Where We Stand arises from a new partnership between POPSUGAR and Complex Networks and will be featured across the properties of both publishers.
Malfunction is a scripted anthology series that explores the relationship between millennial women and technology. It will explore many provocative, relevant questions from what happens when our technology betrays, misleads, or obsesses us to what happens when technology helps and saves us in unseen ways. It’s Black Mirror meets Pretty Little Liars as plausible scenarios are played out to unsettling, bizarre, emotional, and sometimes comedic extremes in stories that cannot be missed. Malfunction is from POPSUGAR Studios and Toy Rocket.
Honored (POPSUGAR Films)
Honored is a new feature film from Lionsgate, Untitled Entertainment, and Cinestar Pictures in association with POPSUGAR’S new film unit, POPSUGAR Films. Executive produced by Zoe Saldana and starring actress and digital influencer Meghan Rienks, Honored tells the emotional story of three former best friends who have drifted apart but reunite when the fourth member of their group suddenly passes away during their senior year of high school. To honor their friend’s memory, the group decides to complete their freshman year bucket list and in the process rediscover the power of friendship. Honored is the first feature to come out of POPSUGAR’s new feature film unit.
Toy Rocket is a longform video production startup and marks an innovative investment by POPSUGAR. Toy Rocket will be led by two accomplished execs from the TV industry: Tom Huffman, formerly a senior programming executive at Tribune Broadcasting, VH1, and Mark Burnett Productions; and Jane Yusim, formerly of ITV Entertainment. Toy Rocket will develop projects for the growing array of video platforms — broadcast, cable, OTT (SVOD and AVOD) — as well as high-profile branded content projects for POPSUGAR. It will leverage both Huffman’s and Yusim’s expertise in longform development and POPSUGAR’s extensive first-party data, video optimization expertise, talent-friendly reputation, and large, loyal audience.
New Heights tells the fascinating stories of a new generation of young, entrepreneurial women who use their airline seats as their office as they travel the world to build their careers. The series features notable women such as body-positivity activist Hayley Hasselhoff and Eliana Murillo, a Google marketing executive with a tequila side-passion. We will ride alongside them and share their experiences as they jet around the world. New Heights is the first video series for the new POPSUGAR Travel channel and is being produced in collaboration with Delta Air Lines and Omnicom Media Group’s The Content Collective. Launching this June, the POPSUGAR-Delta Air Lines collaboration is the latest partnership to emerge from the Final Front, the annual content showcase created and organized by Omnicom Media Group’s Content Collective.
Raising the Game
Raising the Game is a limited series about the powerful connection between peak athletes and the families who helped them achieve their goals. Through the stories of elite athletes and their most important relationships — from parent to sibling to child — we’ll examine the emotional, inspiring, and sometimes complicated relationships involved when high-level athletics enters the equation.
Spirited is a new POPSUGAR social video brand exploring the culture of cocktails. Spirited video episodes will transform female millennial newsfeeds into bar carts of inspiration, one cocktail at a time. From visually stunning cocktail recipe how-tos to thumb-stopping explainer videos and travel documentaries profiling the world’s most talked-about cocktails, content will be rooted in POPSUGAR insights and optimized for consumption across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and POPSUGAR.com.
UNBX is a new franchise from Executive Producer Adam Goodman (the studio head behind iconic movie franchises such as Transformers, Mission: Impossible, and World War Z), the writing team of Jason Pagan and Andrew Deutschman (Paranormal Activity), and POPSUGAR Studios. A family-friendly fantasy franchise, UNBX turns the YouTube unboxing phenomenon on its head in unexpected ways. The mystery begins when a family of five — beloved YouTube unboxing celebrities — begins receiving magical and mysterious boxes from an unknown source. Every episode will feature a brand-new adventure, springing from an item in the box that is sometimes magical, sometimes otherworldly — and always amazing.
TURN, in partnership with Banana Republic, tells the inspiring, true stories of women who took a risk to reinvent themselves. Each episode will profile an influential woman who went from an unfulfilling job to a new career that better matched her life’s mission. We will learn how taking one turn can have huge ripple effects into the rest of their lives.
Whine & Dine
In each episode of Whine & Dine, we bring together one foodie adult, one hungry child, and one top restaurant. In this comedy food series, hosted by comedic actress and model Arielle Vandenberg (@midnight, How I Met Your Mother, Greek), we’ll get both the honest and hilarious reactions of host and kid as each experiences culinary masterpieces from their own POV. Whine & Dine serves up entertainment for anyone interested in food and comedy and who relates to the universal experience of dining out with kids. Whine & Dine is from POPSUGAR Studios in partnership with Portal A (Song Voyage featuring the Gregory Brothers, Esquire’s White Collar Brawlers, YouTube Rewind)
We Rise by POPSUGAR is a new video content brand about inspirational women around the world who are breaking barriers. We Rise by POPSUGAR aims to empower POPSUGAR’S massive audience of young women to be their best selves and to stand up for what they believe in. It is an inclusive, revealing, and uplifting look at the power of women around the world.