03 Apr DEG Welcomes Shout! Factory as a New Member | Meet Garson Foos, CEO
March 31, 2023 | DEG welcomes Shout! Factory as a new member. For almost 20 years, Shout! Factory has redefined what it means to be an entertainment company for fans, by fans. Through its beginnings lovingly releasing and reviving beloved cult films and classic TV series, Shout! cultivated an uncanny ability to rediscover great content and applied these skills to producing and distributing fan-driven new releases that set the bar for independent entertainment. Shout! Factory’s extensive experience in a diverse array of genres has led to the launch of several well-respected properties, including Shout! Studios, Scream Factory, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Shout Kids, Shout Select and the streaming service Shout! Factory TV. Capitalizing on both traditional and emerging digital platforms, Shout! Factory is a media company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture.
DEG recently connected with Garson Foos, CEO of Shout! Factory and Shout! Studios to discuss the secrets to longevity as an independent entertainment company and successfully marketing targeted programming services.
DEG: The company recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. What is your secret to thriving all these years as an independent in Hollywood?
GF: We’ve always put content at the forefront. We have a knack for identifying films and shows that competitors may not see the value in. We like niche content and we’re not often swinging for the fences. We make a lot of small and medium size bets, and over time it adds up to a good sized business.
We’ve also been good at adapting to new technology. Shout! Factory was founded on the principal of leveraging new technology (then it was the DVD) to give fans unique ways to experience films and TV that they’ve grown to love. Being able to watch on-demand, with compelling bonus features, director commentary, and more, was a step up from watching in theaters, on television, or VHS. Over the years, Shout! Factory has adapted those best practices, as well as acquired the expertise in related industries such as television and digital media and applied them to today’s digital streaming landscape. As a result, Shout! Factory has been a pioneer in TVOD, AVOD, SVOD, and FAST.
DEG: When hearing the name Shout! Factory, many people in our community will think first of physical media collections for fans, but of course the company has evolved as you mentioned. How do all the pieces fit together to serve the contemporary Shout! fan?
GF: Our streaming, licensing and transactional businesses have grown substantially in the last ten years. Our physical business has remained much stronger than we expected years back. Most of the deals that we make now have no or very little physical business anticipated.
Shout! Factory specializes in taking established IP and repackaging and marketing it to targeted customers. Our physical collector releases appeal to the super fan while our streaming services and licensing business gives Shout the opportunity to reach more casual fans as well as new fans. It is remarkable that many consumers of Shout titles weren’t even born when those titles were first released.
DEG: You distribute many well-known, well-respected brands under the Shout! umbrella, including Mystery Science Theater 3000, Johnny Carson TV, The Carol Burnett Show, ALF, The Jim Henson Company and many others. And you also have your own production arm, Shout! Studios. How do you aim to balance the flow of originals and acquisitions?
GF: Our original productions and new film acquisitions complement our library business. Our portfolio of titles gives us the unique opportunity to offer compelling “packages” to distributors (programming packages to television programmers and streaming services, and retailers for physical) as well as our viewers and customers through Shout! Factory branded services such as Shout! Factory TV and our ecommerce store. We also leverage this expertise in our new films and Kids and Family businesses. The consistent throughline is quality and fan favorite content with compelling storylines and recognizable talent and IP.
DEG: What’s the “secret sauce” for a targeted service that can’t be replicated by the general entertainment services?
GF: While we don’t want to share all of our secrets, one element of our “secret sauce” is knowing how to exploit recognizable talent and IP. Shout has considerable expertise in publicity—how to tap into and message to fans through earned media. Shout has expanded that expertise to social media and paid digital media by targeting fans and adjacent fans through sophisticated campaigns. A key part of those campaigns is creating complementary programming (e.g., bonus material in home video parlance or shoulder programming in television), leveraging partners (e.g., platforms, fan groups, etc.), and using the unique features of digital (e.g., chat, interactive content) to build buzz for our film and TV titles.
DEG: When it comes to you personally as a pop culture fan, what properties (Shout! Factory or others) are you passionate about?
GF: I love it when my taste and our commercial success come together. This happened early on in our business with Freaks & Geeks, My So Called Life, SCTV and a lot of shows that I loved as a kid. I watched way too much TV when I was young, to my parents dismay. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is a beloved niche pop culture brand, and it’s incredibly gratifying that we’ve been able to reboot it and make three new seasons with more to come.
The Carol Burnett Show, Johnny Carson, Father Knows Best, Dennis The Menace are all big for us and I loved them all growing up. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to get to work with Mel Brooks and release The 2000 Year Old Man albums on audio, as well as the TV Collection that we did with him, a deluxe release of The Producers, and his PBS documentary. The Western that we made a few years ago with the amazing Tim Blake Nelson, Old Henry (pictured), is a favorite and has received terrific audience response.
For more information, visit shoutfactory.com