Will Packer Partners With Universal, Discovery for TV, Branded-Content Deal

Photographed by Gizelle Hernandez
Will Packer

Will Packer Media will produce scripted and unscripted series, as well as advertising campaigns and shortform content.

Following a record-breaking weekend at the box office for his latest release, Girls Trip, producer Will Packer on Tuesday announced a partnership with Universal Pictures and Discovery Communications for a TV production and branded-content deal.

Will Packer Media will produce a wide range of media, from scripted and unscripted series to advertising campaigns to shortform content on a branded digital platform. 

As a part of Discovery's investment, Packer will have a first-look deal with Oprah Winfrey's OWN. The producer's previous forays into television include the Emmy-nominated remake of Roots and BET series Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union.

Will Packer Media will also develop and produce ad campaigns for branded clients. As a part of this endeavor, the company has acquired technology and creative agency Narrative_, a Cannes Lion shortlisted firm started by Tricia Clarke-Stone and Russell Simmons that has developed marketing campaigns for the likes of Under Armour, JCPenney and Samsung, among others.

Clarke-Stone will continue on with the company, having been named the head of brand studio. Alix Baudin, most recently senior vp and GM of digital operations at Scripps Networks Interactive, will oversee the day-to-day operations as co-founder, president and COO of Will Packer Media.

Packer, who has built a successful career producing movies with African-American talent for an audience that Hollywood has historically ignored, has had a first-look deal with Universal since 2013 under his Will Packer Productions. Over the weekend, the two released Girls Trip, starring Regina Hall and Queen Latifah, which grossed $30.4 million, the best opening for an R-rated comedy in two years. The shingle will function separately from Will Packer Media.

Said Packer of his latest endeavor: "We are creating a new model for content production that sees TV and digital as equals, and combines the best of storytelling and brands for an underserved audience."

Will Packer Media offices will be based in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. CAA and Ziffren Brittenham, who both rep Packer, helped negotiate the deal on behalf of the filmmaker.