By Liza Sardi
Ninemonths after taking the helm as CEO of Liquid Media Group, Ron Thomson delivered his “helping hand” pitch straight to the film community during the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
The Vancouver-based company, which has steadily been growing beyond online distribution and gaming through a series of strategic acquisitions since January, strives to bring the kind of statistical certainty to the screen industry that Moneyball did for baseball.
“We’ve created the structure which enables us to help creators focus on what they do best; and we can focus on the business aspects that help them be financially and commercially successful,” Thomson tells Playback Daily. “Liquid Media offers them a helping hand approach, handling a lot of the things that producers perhaps are not the best at doing themselves but they have to in order to survive today.”
By leveraging access to capital markets, the publicly-traded company (Nasdaq: YVR) has recalibrated into a four-stage “solution engine” Thomson says will empower independent film, TV and video game creators to confidently move their IP from creation to monetization, reliably and repeatedly, and drive sustainable growth.
Canadian actor/producer Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek, Little Fires Everywhere) founded Liquid Media when he was 13. He brought in Thomson in to help the company tap into unprecedented demand for content brought on by rise of streaming services and COVID-19, while also addressing barriers that prevent independent IP creators of all sizes and types from accessing capital, key performance metrics and infrastructure to navigate the shifting landscape.
“We’re looking for companies and producers or studios who already have demonstrated capabilities but have projects, which they’re having challenges with and need more of a global approach, maybe they are stuck in Canada perhaps lacking access to the major decision makers whether streamers or the global networks,” adds Thomson. “We have all that. That’s that’s our day and night.”
For the past two decades, Thomson has been helping a long list of media and entertainment industry clients in North America, Europe and Asia scale up, gain financing and expand globally through the company he founded, global business development firm Cameron Thomson. He’s earned a reputation as builder.
Thomson said he quickly realized “a key business principle was lacking” and began to look at what could be done with Liquid Media’s existing assets and the opportunity in the market. He made “very purposeful changes” on every level right up to the board and management team, and when it came time to expand the toolbox “we decided to buy, rather than build.”
Partnership with video distributors dotstudioPRO and Insight TV, and acquisitions of VOD streamer iNDIEFLIX, virtual festival platform Filmocracy and recommendation engine iGEMStv followed. The company has also announced intentions to acquire Digital Cinema United Holding Ltd, which distributes to theatres in 40 countries. The reach of the company is now a billion households. Negotiations continue with other ventures to support Liquid Media’s four pillars: intelligence, financing, technology and monetization.
“This is a great moment in time where the market is is about to grow considerably, but it needs a stable, reliable solution to do this in a repeatable way,” says Thomson. “And I think our integrated solution delivers the best technology, the best financing methodology and funding, best-in-class delivery and best practices and production tools and cloud-based delivery to cinemas and streamers.”
Photo (L-R) Joshua Jackson and Ron Thomson at TIFF’21, Getty Images