The Universal Music Group is a hit-seeking, mass media company with a vision that goes beyond the components of multi-rights artist deals. That's the focus of this piece from Time Magazine that looks at incoming president Lucian Grainge. UMG is building up its Bravado merchandising company, has a patchwork of direct-to-fan initiatives and has licensed its catalog to a range of digital service providers. But that’s all very traditional when compared to Grainge’s television ambitions.
As for expanding Universal Music's operations, he wants to turn it into a "content-owning rights company," which means developing television and film formats to vie with the two Simons' TV franchises: Fuller's American Idol and Cowell's soon-to-be-arriving X Factor, which is already a big hit in Britain. Among Universal's television projects in Britain is a show called Popstar to Operastar, which features Meatloaf as a judge of La Scala wannabes. And on the theater front, Universal is backing Judy Kramer, the producer of the stage and film musical Mamma Mia!, in her efforts to create a musical about the Spice Girls called Viva Forever.