Hammering Home The Message

Friday, June 19 2015
Hammering Home The Message

It’s been another amazing year for Signature, the thriving independent label. Within days of picking up a BVA award for best marketing for a film with a box office of under £1 million – a recognition of its efforts in the limited theatrical and premium vod arena in recent months, not just with Legends Of Oz – Dorothy’s Return – it has now announced a tranche of new investment.

It’s the latest in a remarkable rise from a small independent to a label boasting West End offices and a staff of more than 20 people. As md Marc Goldberg says, the year so far has been ‘fantastic”. We are seeing improved results across every platform we release across, including DVD. This is naturally coming from better product and the exceptional team of people I work with. [And the premium vod] is a very exciting aspect to our business.”

The new injection of funds, from none other than West Ham chairman David Sullivan, will see his cash opening up a whole new world of possibilities for the company.

The independent is hugely ambitious and while md Marc Goldberg states it didn’t need the money to run the business, the new funding will enable it to fund its plans for expansion into overseas territories and also its move into closer involvement with producers and, inevitably, production.

It was Signature’s inexorable move into the latter that prompted the meeting between fellow Hammers’ fans Sullivan and Goldberg, as he explains: “David is an investor in our two new Krays movies.”

Those two – The Rise Of The Krays and The Fall Of The Krays – are both shaping up to be huge catalysts for the company. For not only are they set to be among Signature’s biggest ever releases (“It’s shaping up to be a huge title for us. We have fantastic support from retail and there should be a lot of awareness on anything to do with the Krays at that time,” says Goldberg of the first, due later in the summer), but also saw Sullivan and Goldberg teaming up.

The former will have “little” involvement in the day to day running if the business, for, as Goldberg insists: “I am in complete control of every decision that is made.”

Nor, as Goldberg says, was it necessary for the company to receive a cash injection. Rather, it will go specifically towards certain elements of its business. In a market that sees new investment hard to come by – it’s a notoriously unforgiving area for cash-rich investors and in recent years finding funding has been even harder – Signature’s ability to find someone to get involved with its business should in itself be applauded.

Goldberg believes that Signature’s unique business model aided it in getting Sullivan to invest. “Not vital. It is a great opportunity for me and the company to kick on. “I hadn’t been seeking investment,” he says. “But when you look around the marketplace, there are very few companies that work the same way we do. It seems the right time to capitalise on the opportunity that is out there.”

What’s more, with the likes of Koch recently bowing out of big theatrical releases, it’s good to see someone committing to just that as part of its growth plans.

“It is much harder [to release theatrical titles],” says Goldberg. “But we have given ourselves the platform to look at that enthusiastically rather than with fear.”

So what are the exact hopes for the bigger and better Signature? “The company has plans to grow.” says Goldberg. “Wider theatrical releasing is in the plan.

“Production (owning world rights), alliances with foreign distributors, international digital distribution… There’s a lot happening.”

And what we venture by way of conclusion, about moving into production? “We are making a few low budget British films; there are lots of projects out there, but it’s not a huge focus today. I’d rather work with great producers more closely.”

With something like 75 films being released in 2015 and, the company promises, “a lot” due in 2016, there’s interesting times ahead for the independent…

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