Former ViacomCBS International senior execs Claire McArdle and Rebecca Knight have joined forces to launch new indie, Collective Media Group.

Collective Media Group will work across the full range of premium factual output – from high-end factual series, to popular entertainment and podcasting – with a particular focus on storytelling around some of sport’s most iconic moments.

Collective Media Group will work collaboratively with on- and off-screen talent to develop, produce and distribute content that inspires audiences across a range of genres and platforms.  As well as developing and producing its own IP, the company will also work with sports rights holders – including The Legends Tour – to bring their stories to global television screens.

McArdle and Knight’s prior experience covers the key international territories and Collective Media Group already has a strong Latin American slate out to market. Claire McArdle and Rebecca Knight become Co-CEOs.

McArdle is an Emmy award-winning creative executive who has worked extensively across broadcast and digital platforms in a number of genres. Previously Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer of OTRO, she was Vice President of Comedy Central International Studios at ViacomCBS International.  A former Commissioning Editor for Education and 4iP at Channel 4, and Executive Producer at All3Media-owned Maverick Television, she has created and delivered International Emmy, BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast award-winning content.

Knight has a wealth of experience in content production and live events having delivered award winning films and BAFTA winning programming.  As Vice President of International Production and Business Affairs for MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount she produced and negotiated across all genres of programming. She has worked with talent both in front and behind the camera for over twenty years,  with a particular focus on nurturing new talent coming into the industry.

Claire McArdle, Co-CEO, Collective Media Group, says: “There is a huge opportunity in today’s landscape for talent and access-driven content and we are fortunate to have access to some outstanding stories from across the world.  Whilst sport-related stories will be the beating heart of Collective Media Group, we recognise the huge potential in the wider marketplace.  Our aim is to convert our deep talent and access relationships into meaningful and long-lasting IP that can be exploited across multiple platforms.”

Rebecca Knight, Co-CEO, Collective Media Group, adds: “Each member of the team – from Claire and myself through to our producers – brings with them a unique set of talent relationships, organisational access and buyer contacts.  It means we are already talking to all major players in the streaming and broadcast landscape and have a range of projects at development and contracting stages.”

The company is already delivering the highlights shows for The Legends Tour which are distributed in around 40 international markets, and has delivered two series of the chart-topping The Harry Redknapp Show podcast in partnership with Global. Collective Media Group already has multiple series in development with international and sporting talent attached.

The company launches with a team that includes Matt Wilkinson, Creative Director, Entertainment and Formats – a BAFTA award-winning executive producer and showrunner with over 15 years experience in the industry who has produced I’m A Celebrity, A League Of Their Own, The X Factor and Soccer Aid. Wilkinson works with a range of sports IP holders, including The Ryder Cup, FIFA, Chelsea FC and The Legends Tour, on their content strategies. Karen Willis is on board as Director of Development. A former Director of Development at Whizz Kid Entertainment, Willis brings over 20 years of TV experience to Collective Media Group. Prior to Head of Development roles at Pioneer Productions and Zig Zag Productions, she developed and produced documentaries, features and factual entertainment formats for Discovery Networks, IWC and Wag TV. Richard Smith joins as Executive Producer, Development. Smith has produced and executive produced entertainment and reality shows, from The Paul O’Grady Show to Big Brother and Made in Chelsea. He started his career at MTV UK where he spent many years working across development, editorial and on-air. In 2017 Richard moved across to development and since then has overseen pilots and successful commissions for MTV, SKY, Channel 4, BBC and UKTV.

Collective Media Group is privately backed.

Jon Creamer

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