Sister Invests in Podcast Studio Startup Campside

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Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone's media company is backing the newly launched nonfiction podcast company, which has 11 audio projects in the works.

Sister, the global media company founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone, has invested in newly launched nonfiction podcast studio Campside.

The deal builds on Sister’s growing portfolio of creator-first businesses after its March investment in comic book publisher AWA Studios.

Campside was founded by journalists Josh Dean, Vanessa Grigoriadis and Matthew Shaer alongside screenwriter and producer Adam Hoff. The studio will focus on narrative nonfiction storytelling in the fast-growing audio segment, developing projects that span the true crime, scandal and adventure genres. It is also working on global projects in Japan, Brazil and India.

Campside currently has 11 original podcasts underway. Sister, which also has a first-look agreement with the studio, already has plans to adapt three of those projects for television.

Snider tells THR that Sister pursued the deal aggressively. “We believe in what they’re doing,” she says. “We believe in longform journalism that can be adapted to audio, we believe in their integrity as journalists, and we believe in their business plan, which is to enable journalists to profit and succeed from their own work.”

Three of Campside’s founders are journalists who recently made the jump to podcasting. Dean, who has written for Rolling Stone, New York and Esquire, hosted and produced 2019 podcast The Clearing. Grigoriadis, who wrote the book Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus, was behind Luminary’s Tabloid: The Making of Ivanka Trump. Matthew Shaer is a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine who co-reported and hosted Wondery’s Over My Dead Body.

We believe in story first, and to that end, we wanted to make Campside a company built around storytellers,” Grigoriadis said in a statement. “At a time when the audio medium is exploding with potential — ever-growing audiences hungry for more, significant investment into new and exciting platforms — we want to empower the journalists who create and labor over amazing stories. This is our goal not just because it is fair and just, but because it is how you create hits.”

The company’s first project will be a 10-part series on the Hollywood con queen scam, hosted by Dean and co-developed by Grigoriadis. Other projects include Masked, an investigation into a botched Seattle murder case that Shaer reported with journalist Eric Benson; The Lost, in which host Matteo Fagotto explores the reunion of a mother and daughter following their separation by the Spanish government; and Hooked, in which creator and host Dean will tell the story of a bank robbery spree set against the backdrop of America’s opioid crisis.

Sister is in development on the TV adaptation of Masked, and John Ridley is developing Hooked at ABC Studios.

Snider says the ability to adapt Campside’s projects for film and TV wasn’t at the heart of Sister’s investment, though it was an added bonus. “It’s good for us to be able to incubate intellectual property and it’s good for them to have experienced producers that have relationships everywhere,” she says. “It’s definitely reciprocal.” But as a major investor in the company, Sister won’t hold Campside back from making shows with other producers if they are a better fit, she says.

Campside has signed with UTA, which helped negotiate the deal with Sister alongside Morris Yorn and Blakemore Fallon.

Sister launched in 2019 to produce projects for multiple platforms. The company, which absorbed Featherstone’s Sister Productions, has offices in London and Los Angeles. Its credits include HBO/Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl and Gangs of London.