Why the business is booming for Hollywood life rights deals

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When Jason Richman joined United Talent Agency almost 12 years ago, his division was commonly referred to as “the book department” or the book-film branch.

From those humble beginnings – traveling the publishing landscape for the next hit movie or television series – the agency assembled a team that was renamed the “Media Rights” group at UTA several years ago. It sums up the vast field Richman and Media Rights co-director Keya Khayatian play in finding content pipelines all over Hollywood.

They represent writers like Celeste Ng (“Little Fires Everywhere”, “Everything I Never Told You”), journalists behind delicious long reads, audio creators and individual lifetime rights holders all powering a machine. of content made more prolific by the advent of streamers.

“We really help guide the lives of writers, journalists, and lifelong rights holders, podcasts, any intellectual property that we think can be exploited for a film and TV adaptation,” Richman said at the this week’s show. Variety “Strictly Business” podcast.

A staple of the old and new show business economy, the source material is also what kept the agency’s landscape afloat in the turbulent early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We saw a significant increase in transactions during the first wave of foreclosures. People were at home reading manuscripts and listening to podcasts because they couldn’t be in the field doing things, ”Khayatian said.

Listen to the full “Strictly Business” podcast to hear Richman and Khayatian discuss the search for new business voices, the future of comic book intellectual property, and more.

“Strictly commercial” is VarietyThe weekly podcast of, featuring conversations with industry leaders on the media and entertainment sector. New episodes debut every Wednesday and can be downloaded from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud

(Pictured: Jason Richman and Keya Khayatian)


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