Crowd-funded and -curated, family-friendly Angel Studios announces $100M in original content
"The creators come with their vision and their ideas," says studio CEO Neal Harmon. "And we help them connect to the audience."
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Netflix may be tightening its belt following sour stock news, but Angel Studios is pouring plenty of cash into its content slate.
Angel Studios, the team behind hits like "Dry Bar Comedy" and "The Chosen," just announced more than $100 million in new original content.
Angel Studios CEO Neal Harmon shared details of the announcement with John Solomon on his "Just the News Not Noise" show. The upcoming slate includes the third season of "The Chosen," a 10th for "Dry Bar Comedy," and the animated film "David," based on King David.
The renegade company specializes in stories that can be shared with young and old alike.
"What I'm so excited about is that my children are watching these shows," Harmon told Solomon.
Harmon says Angel Studios is a family affair, started by four brothers who all had young children hungry for content.
"We grew up in Idaho on farms, and stories were our escape," Harmon said of the company, formed in 2013. "And they were also the lens through which we viewed the world." That lens, to them, didn't reflect enough family-friendly fare they could watch together.
"The Chosen," an episodic series about the life and times of Jesus Christ, is the studio's signature smash. The project's initial crowdfunding efforts drew more than $10 million for a show even some secular critics praise.
Other successes include "Tuttle Twins," based on the popular, limited-government-themed children's books, and "The Riot and the Dance," a nature series "that gives glory to God."
The company's trajectory has been far from smooth. Angel Studios teetered on the edge of bankruptcy at one point, but it went on to generate $123 million in revenue in a single year. Harmon and company credit 50,000 Angel "investors" who choose the content they wish to support.
The company's model is deceptively simple. Angel Studios lets storytellers pitch their projects on its web platform, and "Angel Investors" can fund the titles they're most eager to see.
"The creators come with their vision and their ideas," Harmon says. "And we help them connect to the audience." The process lets Harmon's team know up front if a project has popular appeal. Viewers, in turn, can watch all the shows for free on the Angel Studios' app.
"We're seeing the audience come to our aid and seeing the audience make excellent decisions about the content that they want to see," he said.
That model proved prescient with "The Chosen" and "Dry Bar Comedy," with the former generating more than 400 million views to date, Harmon said.
Harmon predicts, based on existing growth trends, Angel Studios will reach a billion people by 2027.
"The Chosen's" audience "has been doubling," the CEO says of the series, currently in production for season three.
"That show is a global phenomenon," he adds. "And this is happening over and over again."
The company isn't alone in creating content with families in mind. The Daily Wire, the conservative news and entertainment site cofounded by Ben Shapiro, announced earlier this year it plans to invest its own $100 million into stories appropriate for young viewers.
That announcement came partly in response to Disney's recent efforts to incorporate "woke," LGBTQ narratives into its studio's content slate.