Contributed by: Show Editorial Team
- Entertainment Studios owns over 60 television shows including The Weather Channel
- Entertainment Studios content & distribution has over $1 billion in total assets
- Byron Allen owns one of the largest cable network portfolios in the industry
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Byron Allen, CEO of Entertainment Studios with Matt Bird
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back to the Traders Network Show in our coverage of the 2019 Greenwich Economic Forum. My next guest needs very little introduction. He is a media Titan Byron Allen, CEO of entertainment Studios. Byron, welcome to show.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 00:12
Oh, thank you Matt. Good to be here. Really appreciate you having me.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:15
Oh, it’s our pleasure. So we’re here at the forum. We got approximately I think 7 to $18 trillion under management that’s sitting in the room next to us.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 00:22
That’s not enough. I have to leave right now. Well, it’s only 18 trillion under management. That doesn’t work for me. Go ahead.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:34
Well, economic development in public private partnerships is really the launching pad of this event is for you’re here representing your organization and thought leadership. Tell us why this evewnts important to you.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 00:45
You know, we’re always reaching out to the capital market and we want the capital markets to know us, know us innately, know what we’ve done, what we’re doing, know our vision, and we want them to hopefully embrace that and we can build a phenomenal business together.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:56
You know, now I think the vast majority of people out there who at least within our generation know you as a media Titan, but truth is, is that you’re a finance M&A and investment banking expert as well. You’ve gone through a series of high level transactions from the Weather Channel to a divisions of Fox and in partnership with st Claire. Can you tell us a little bit about that? I mean, tell us how did you make that transition?
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 01:20
A great question. You know, I started as a standup comedian when I was a kid and I ended up being the, one of the youngest. I ended up being the youngest comedian to do the tonight show with Johnny Carson writing jokes for Jimmy Walker with Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jay and Dave were getting 200 bucks a week. I was getting 25 bucks a joke and just loved doing comedy and entertaining folks. And I realize, you know, it wasn’t show business, it’s business show. And I had to learn the business side of show business. And I started doing that when I was about 19 years old and really took to it, really love it. And start at my company from my dining room table about 26 years ago and started selling my first show. Next thing I know, we have over 60 shows and 10 networks, including the weather channel, which I bought last year. And we have 15 television stations in 11 markets and we have a movie distribution company. And I just love what I do and I haven’t had a job since I quit my paper route. Which was, I was a little kid and I was getting half a penny a paper to throw the Herald Exam. So I love what I do. I think Matt, you know, I, I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. I’m truly blessed and I’m just having a great time.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:33
Oh, you know what, I as one person, I mean, I threw my papers and my hometown in Seattle, Washington.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 02:37
Better than me I’m sure. I wasn’t that great.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:40
I end up being a quarterback for the high school, but that was about as far as I got.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 02:44
I never came close to that.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:46
What’s next for you?
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 02:48
You know what, I, when I met my wife almost 20 years ago, she asked me what I was doing and I said, I’m building the world’s biggest media company and that’s what I’m doing. We’re just we’re a something that I feel is special and we don’t want to just build something that’s the biggest and the best. We also want to, we want to do a lot of good along the way and open up doors for a lot of good people. You know, my mother had me at 17. She got pregnant with me when she was 16 years old and she had me 17 days after a 17th birthday. And what changed our life as my mom got into UCLA and she ended up getting her master’s degree in cinema, TV production. And because of that, she was able to get a job as an intern at the a at NBC.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 03:31
She went to NBC and said, do you have an intern program? They said, no. And she asked a question that changed our lives. She said, will you start one with me? And they said yes. And because she was an intern there, she later became a tour guide and went on to the publicity and marketing department. But as a kid, I used to go out to NBC with her and that’s where I would stand in the wings. And I watched Johnny Carson do his show and Red Fox tape Sanford and son and flip Wilson, do the flip Wilson show and Bob hope do his specials. And I watched all these amazing comedians. I thought, what a wonderful way to go through life, making people laugh, entertaining people. But what change the trajectory of our lives is education. My mom getting into UCLA. So I want to make sure that we not only build the world’s greatest media company in the world’s biggest media company, but we help make it accessible, education, accessible to everybody and give everybody a wonderful opportunity so that they can bring their best game. You know, we want to position people to succeed and we want to position people to maximize their fullest potential. And so we really want to do a lot in that, in that regard.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 04:29
I think you’re certainly having a major impact on the, at least the entertainment community and the investment banking committee right now and you’re doing your part to get that message out there. You were exposed to a lot of things that are really young age and helped mold who you are today. Yes. And, and you’re very fortunate in that sense. You got to see mechanisms and repetition and how things work at a level that very few people do. And you took the academic and the fundamental education structure, you, how you applied it to what you saw.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 05:15
That’s where I’m very blessed and I’m very fortunate. And once again, education that’s the key. My mom getting into UCLA and that just changed. That changed the game for us. What, you know, what we have, look in this country, there’s a lot to do. And so this form is important because there was a lot of capital here and there’s a lot of capital that can grow businesses and do a lot of good in the community. We have about 327 million people in America, and we’re less than 5% of the global population of about 7 billion. Unfortunately, half the women in this country are living at or below the poverty line. And so that’s not sustainable. We have homeless children over two and a half million homeless children. So there’s a, there’s a lot to address and we have to position ourselves for greater success. We need to make education free in this country, in my humble opinion, because I need the best you and I need the best heart.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 06:11
And you know, we have to compete as one nation, one America against the rest of the world. There are some countries out there that have over 200 million kids in college, two thirds of our nation in college at the big number, right? Two, it’s a big number, two thirds of the population of our nation in college. They’re developing intellectual capital at a much faster rate than we are. And the capital will always follow the intellectual capital. And if we don’t have enough intellectual capital, then we will continue to fall further and further behind. So for us, this is important because it’s about investing in our best entrepreneurs, growing our businesses, and maintaining our global market share as we compete as a nation, one America competing with the rest of the world to make sure that our population of 327 million people, we stay at the top of the pyramid.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 07:06
I mean, look what people know is that as we go from 7 billion to 10 billion people, we don’t have enough resources to sustain 10 billion people. And the people on the bottom 5 billion, they’re going to have a lot of problems. That bottom 5 billion is going to get wiped out. So we have to make sure we work hard to make sure we stay in that upper, you know, 2% as a global planet so that we can maintain access to the necessary resources to survive. So we want to build our company, we want to do good in America and around the world and we want to help everybody be the best of them.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 07:43
I love that. I mean addressing the bottom 5% is always been the social impact issue is, is how do you lift people that, that I don’t have the capability of lifting themselves. And then I think you really touched on that.
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 07:55
Education. Let’s just make it free. I can argue that, you know, not having all of our Americans educated fully, it’s a threat to national security. So we need everybody, we just need everybody to bring their a game. We want you to just be the best you and education is so key and so important.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 08:16
All right, so transitioning into the forum here. What can we expect to hear from you on the panel?
Byron Allen – CEO, Entertainment Studios: 08:20
We’ll talk about, you know, my experience, talk about what we can do together. I think one of the things we’re going to have to do just to make America more competitive is to get everybody fully engaged. We don’t have a lot of women fully engaged in the economic system and we don’t have a lot of people of color fully engaged in the economic system. And I think it’s important that we have everybody on the field playing for team America and making sure that we maintain our economic status throughout the world.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 08:48
Well, gender equality is one of the one of the core SDGs for the United nations. And I think that you’re going to be a terrific advocate and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do up there and thank you for come on show. I mean that, I really appreciate it Byron. No, thank you. Byron Allen, CEO of Entertainment Studios. We’ll be right back after these messages. Special thanks to our affiliate partners, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.
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