Paris-based Cyber Group Studios is making good on previously announced expansion plans with the launch of new subsidiary Cyber Group Studios US. Richard Goldsmith, most recently an EVP at The Jim Henson Company, is taking the helm of the new operation as president and CEO.
Based in Culver City Studios, the new outfit is focused on establishing a North American foothold for Cyber Group. Goldsmith, who also joins Cyber Group founder, chairman and CEO Pierre Sissman on the company’s global management team, says his immediate plans for Cyber Group US fall into three categories.
To start, he will focus on maximizing existing IP and distribution rights for Cyber Group hit series like Mirette Investigates, Zou and Zorro the Chronicles in North America, including consumer products exploitation. Secondly, Goldsmith is actively looking for new properties, either through acquisition or partnership with an existing rights owner. (He hints that Cyber Group US may have some announcements to make on that front soon.) Finally, he’s been charged with establishing production bases in North America and Asia to complement Cyber Group’s existing production facilities, which includes a full-service animation studio with 120 employees in Paris. He will also oversee distribution for Cyber Group content in North America, China, Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to establishing the new subsidiary, Goldsmith will be looking to acquire companies for Cyber Group globally. “There is a desire to expand quickly,” he says. “Whether that’s through acquiring content producers or IP owners outright.”
“Our vision is to grow from being a French studio to a global one,” adds Sissmann. “We need bases in different parts of the world. Richard and I went to the same school [both worked at Disney], and we think alike. He was an excellent fit for us and will play a critical role in our development.” He confirms that in as few as 18 months after opening the US division, he intends to have offices established in Shanghai and Latin America.
For his part, Goldsmith says, “We’re very much aligned. I have been increasingly impressed by the content and quality of people at Cyber Group. I have been an entrepreneur, but I’ve spent the last 15 years working for other companies. This is the opportunity to combine the two and take on a greater challenge.”
To that end, Goldsmith is busy staffing up. He’s currently looking for talent to cover all aspects of the new business from distribution and consumer products to content development and production.
Previously, Goldsmith spent more than six years with The Jim Henson Company in various executive roles overseeing its distribution operations. Prior to that he worked with Warner Bros. as an adviser to its digital distribution and consumer products divisions and has held executive positions at Chartwell Partners and Walt Disney Television.