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Universal relaunches Polygram as music film production unit

By | Published on Monday 13 February 2017


Possibly aware that it’s confusing if Universal Music puts out film content under its own name – what with there being a separate Universal film business that is no longer anything to do with the music firm – the mega-major has had a rummage around its filing cabinet of forgotten brands and pulled out Polygram.

That brand – the name of one of the big old entertainment groups that morphed through merger into Universal in the 1990s – is being revived for the major’s new music-orientated film and television projects. First up will be new documentaries about Motown and Michael Hutchence.

The all-new Polygram will be run by UMG’s Head Of Film & Television Development And Production, David Blackman. He will report jointly to UMG EVP Michele Anthony and Universal Music Publishing CEO Jody Gerson.

“Polygram will play an important role in furthering UMG’s global strategy to produce the very best in audio-visual storytelling and provide our artists with an important medium for their expression and creativity”, explains Anthony. “Music is essential to film and television – and the stories surrounding our artists and their music provide compelling narratives for audiences around the world”.

Gerson adds: “With Polygram, our multi-talented recording artists and songwriters will have even greater opportunities to work with the very best storytellers, writers, producers and directors in film and television. With David’s strong creative instincts and production experience, Polygram will enable new outlets for music-based programming, as well as provide a needed forum for stories about the artists, music and events that have shaped and impacted culture globally”.

Blackman meanwhile comments: “It’s a tremendous honour to carry on the Polygram name and its legacy of excellence. I’m incredibly proud of the projects we have in development, especially our newest production, ‘The Story Of Motown’. I’m thankful to [UMG chief] Lucian [Grainge], Michele and Jody for this opportunity and their continued support of Polygram and our mission to provide music fans with fresh perspectives and stories about their favourite artists and music”.

This is the latest step in Universal’s bid to make movies around its artists and catalogue, and follows its involvement in the Amy Winehouse documentary ‘Amy’, ‘Montage Of Heck’ about Kurt Cobain, and The Beatles’ ‘Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years’. Two years ago, the major label also bought Eagle Rock Entertainment, gaining access to its raft of concert films.