Something big is coming to Full Sail University, and it includes a diverse portfolio of streaming services and potential for both students and alumni.
TV4 Entertainment and Full Sail announced Feb. 26 a partnership that will leverage the university’s production facilities and benefit its student and alumni talent, as well as assist TV4 in scaling its workforce.
TV4 operates more than 30 genre-focused channels that reach hundreds of millions of people globally. It was founded by Jon Cody, former head of Fox Digital Media and the launch general manager for Hulu.
As part of the agreement, TV4 will relocate its global headquarters to the Full Sail campus and bring both its original production studio and portfolio of streaming services and companies along.
“(Jon Cody) really saw a real opportunity to create an unlimited number of virtual channels that can be streamed globally,” said TV4 Chief Marketing Officer Larry Baird. “They really have been working on that the last few years, and right now, we have about 50 different focused genres — from home and garden to horror to boxing — and we’re launching new categories this year. … We’re able to curate the best available content from across the globe and use it to create genre-focused channels and bring it to new audiences.”
Rick Ramsey, education director of visual arts at Full Sail, said the partnership will benefit both parties. TV4 is creating as well as serving as an outlet for content, he said, and it is also a conduit for content creators who don’t always have a home for their content.
“Full Sail is ready for that — we have amazing facilities and gear, and the thing we always do is have our students work on their own projects,” Ramsey said. “I want to up that into working on things that will be seen. TV4 is in the business of making things seen. It kind of fits.”
“That’s part of why the relationship with Full Sail made sense, because we see this huge opportunity to generate new, original content and programming,” Baird said. “We needed a way to scale up quickly, so it was a perfect marriage in terms of finding a full, ready-to-go operation and great talent that can help us do that. It’s really a great shortcut, from our perspective, and gives us flexibility to access the best available talent and really quickly scale up.”
The partnership will kick off in April, and the collaboration adds to the region’s growing entertainment and technology landscape. It also will provide employment opportunities to Full Sail graduates and real-world experience to students.
In the near future, TV4 plans to create hundreds of new jobs in the Orlando area, with a majority of hires to come from Full Sail’s graduate pool. The company also will provide students and faculty with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in areas such as video and multimedia content production, media operations and marketing.
The company will base its headquarters in a multipurpose office and production space on Full Sail’s campus. It has additional offices in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro.
Casey Tanous, director of public relations at Full Sail, said the university’s mission is to collaborate, innovate and educate. The collaboration between Full Sail and TV4, Tanous said, will allow students to learn and shadow behind the scenes from the TV4 crew. The entertainment company can utilize and hire Full Sail graduates, as well as educate students.
“This is a new world: It’s not the old way of tuning a TV into the network — this is streaming,” Tanous said. “(Students are) coming to school, they’re digital savvy, and they want to go to work for a company they believe in that speaks their language. To be able to be recognized by a company like TV4, which (was) just named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies of 2019. That’s a big deal. When you think about wanting to call Winter Park and Full Sail home, that speaks a lot to the graduates they’re looking to hire from Full Sail.”
Baird added the whole entertainment industry is undergoing a large paradigm shift and technology is moving so quickly, which is why TV4 is looking forward to have a tech-savvy team of talent onboard.
“On a fundamental level, we’re excited to work together to continue to bring interesting, exciting, authentic stories to the world,” he said. “There’s a lot of great stories to be told. Jon says, and I agree, that these are the executives and leaders of tomorrow in the entertainment space.”