No, really. And I ain't saying this just because I do a little work for the guy. Over the last few days, news has spread about his latest venture called Content Partners; two days after NBC had the story, it's already in the overseas papers. It works like this, best I can figure: Content Partners, which consists of Cuban (and, one assumes, Todd Wagner) and other partners, flat out gives a pile of dough (NBC says "up to $25 million") to actors or agents in exchange for some or all of the back-end cash they're going to make in the future from hit movies or long-running TV shows and the DVDs they spawn. In other words, Content Partners eliminates the stars' need to go after studios for their share of the profits; Cuban and his people now assume all the risk.
Michael Sherman, a Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney quoted in both the NBC and Independent pieces, tells the former "he has at least one high-profile client who may be interested in signing up for the service." And others might be interested too, if only for the upfront money they can use to "pay off an ex-partner, an ex-wife or to simply invest." But Sherman explains to NBC precisely what makes this a good deal for movie stars...and a potential nightmare for studios and production companies:
"[Content Partner] will take on the burden of auditing, collection and enforcement, so now the participant doesn't have to worry about any that; they just go along for the ride as a partner and shift the rise and expense of these enforcement mechanisms to the company."
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Incidentally, I can be had, and for much less than $25 million. Twenty-five bucks, most likely. --Robert Wilonsky