1091 Rebrands Holding Company As Streamwise, Taps BitMovio Founder Simon Zhu To Lead Ramp-Up Of New Platform

EXCLUSIVE: 1091 Media, which succeeded The Orchard in a 2019 rebrand, is going through another transformation, renaming its holding company as Streamwise.

The new name is an indication of the company’s new strategic direction toward streaming, but  its film and TV distribution business isn’t going anywhere and will now operate under the 1091 Pictures banner. The company has also named Simon Zhu as its chief technology officer. Zhu was founder and CEO of blockchain-enabled entertainment tech company BitMovio, which 1091 recently acquired.

Zhu will oversee the ramp-up of a new Streamwise-branded platform that will be an engine for 1091 Pictures. Pressed for details about the offering, executives declined to offer much, though they confirmed that direct-to-consumer subscription streaming is not in the forecast. Instead, the focus will be on providing distributors, production companies and filmmakers with insights and consolidated financial information for their releases. A private beta of the platform is slated to begin in December, beginning with more than 500 distributors already tied to 1091.

Streamwise said it plans to provide premium content owners “centralized access” to a portfolio of the top streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV, Pluto TV, Tubi and the Roku Channel. It will combine that information along with marketing and insights services, in a single user experience. Given how close to the vest streaming leaders keep their data, it isn’t clear how Streamwise will analyze activity on those services. Execs would not say if they will use third-party data sources.

The launch of the Streamwise platform marks the final step in the separation of 1091’s systems from its previous owner, The Orchard, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. The investment partnership behind Streamwise’s current ownership, Danny Stein and Joe Samberg, were the owner/operators behind The Orchard until its sale to Sony in 2015.

“We are thrilled to have Simon join the management team,” said Stein, executive chairman of Streamwise. “Simon’s impressive background as an innovative leader in the streaming industry will supplement our leadership team as we continue to evolve the business and expand its offerings for content owners and platforms.”

In the course of his 15-year career, Zhu has worked at companies including Corning before founding BitMovio. He was SVP of Product Management and executive board director at Vobile, a content protection and monetization solutions company whose clients included the top seven global film studios and many other producers and networks. Vobile received an Emmy Award in Technology in 2017 and debuted on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2018.

“I’m excited to join the Streamwise team as the video entertainment ecosystem continues to be reshaped by technology and consumer behavior,” Zhu said. “With the product and engineering talent that built BitMovio’s core gamified video entertainment platform, we are already underway building a modern cloud-based sales, marketing and distribution platform for films, television series and content of all flavors. Streamwise is an exciting opportunity for our team to solve challenges for content owners in their pursuit to reach and monetize the largest possible streaming audience.”

Thousands of titles, including Oscar-nominated films like Cartel Land, and Taika Waititi’s What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are in the 1091 library. The company’s distribution network reaches more than 100 countries.

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