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January 2006
A Man on the Rise: An Interview with Quincy Newell

A Man on the Rise: An Interview with Quincy Newell

By Wilson Morales

According to the press notes, Entertainment industry veteran Quincy C. Newell is a true diamond in the rough. This seasoned executive has served a combined 15+ years at a major studio, a major music label & distributor, and an independent home video label & distributor. He is one of the few executives that possess a unique and diverse repertoire of skills collected from his experience in video and recorded music and has held a range of senior management positions in marketing, project management, and business development in both. In addition, Newell has worked extensively in the development and growth of the urban market business segment for these organizations. Among other enviable accomplishments in his still growing career, Newell's ambition, business acumen and good old fashioned hard work, have proved him among the most revered commodities in the business of entertainment.

"I enjoy the business of the business," Newell says. "To me I've been blessed enough to acquire a diverse set of experiences and skills , and the understanding of how to combine and use those skills and experiences in a systematic way that results in successful business outcomes."

In 2002 Newell joined forces with entertainment industry veteran Jeff Clanagan to launch Clanagan's newest venture UrbanWorks Entertainment. During his tenure at UrbanWorks, Newell served as Vice President and Sr. Vice President/General Manager. In these roles Newell led UrbanWorks Entertainment's strategic entry into the urban market and held operating responsibility for the company. Mr. Newell's responsibilities included managing day-to-day studio operations for UrbanWorks Entertainment including financial management, sales, product development, acquisitions, production, and marketing and branding initiatives.

While at UrbanWorks Entertainment Newell was responsible for the acquisition and management of three of the group's anchor label relationships including Entertainment Rights (Fat Albert), Carsey Werner (The Cosby Show), and Nike (Battlegrounds). Newell also spearheaded the creation of the group's strategic retail marketing alliances, aimed at promoting and driving awareness for the urban category and establishing urban as a viable business segment among the home video and retail communities. Since joining UrbanWorks, Mr. Newell has been the catalyst behind the company's evolution to becoming the #1 independent producer and distributor of urban home entertainment with the company generating more than $150-million dollars in revenues under his leadership.

In August of 2005 Newell left the post of Sr. Vice President/General Manager of Ventura Distribution's UrbanWorks Entertainment, to open his own shop, Newell Media Group, Inc. Newell Media Group specializes in strategic business consulting in the areas of marketing, sales, business development, organizational development, and strategic planning. His firm is also under negotiations to join forces with another major firm to expand its capabilities to production and worldwide audio and visual content distribution. Newell Media Group's current clients include; Ventura Distribution/UrbanWorks Entertainment, 55 Entertainment, and Shout Factory. Newell Media Group's portfolio also includes: Music Publishing, Apparel Design, and Real Estate Development.

In speaking to blackfilm.com, Newell goes over his role at Urbanworks as he prepares to launch into new endeavors.

What is your role at UrbanWorks and what are you currently working on?

Quincy Newell: Just to clarify, I'm a consultant for Urbanworks Entertainment. My focus as a consultant is to help manage the business operations for Ventura Distribution, who owns UrbanWorks. My consultancy ended on the 31st of December of 2005. I had been consulting for them since August of 2005 when I launched my own company, which is Newell Media Group. Previous to that, I was the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of UrbanWorks since 2002. I'm in the process of negotiating a merger of my company with another company called Code Black Entertainment. With this merger, I will be taking my other clients with me. If it does come to fruition, it will allow me to have access to international content management and distribution, as well as bringing expanded production capability, strategic business planning and national sales and marketing capability to Code Black and that deal is currently under negotiation.

In regards to the film business, what is your ultimate goal?

QN: My ultimate goal is to provide quality content for the urban consumer and to provide an access point to distribution that's outside the industry, where there has been a wall and obstacle.

While you were at UrbanWorks, do you think you made a change?

QN: I think we made a significant difference. With UrbanWorks, we've evolved from 2002 as middle tier to being the number #1 independent studio that distributes and creates urban content exclusively. I think we were able to procreate a business model that the urban market has a potential value in home entertainment. We've proven that the African American audience is also a viable business segment that influences other companies to increase their resource targeting that area and hopefully creating opportunities for other minority executives.

How much of a role do you have in the marketing of film that goes straight to DVD? How does an ordinary consumer go about and find films that UrbanWorks produces?

QN: Well, that's an interesting question. There are over 250 titles available under the UrbanWorks label and each has various ways of entering the marketing. Some of them will be available at a Blockbuster, but obviously not all of them because Blockbuster has certain criteria that they have in accepting films. I think depending on the style of films you are looking for will also be dependent of where you are going to find it. In Blockbuster you will definitely find a majority of our feature films in their comedy section, but our titles may be available at a Wal-Mart, where they have a different listing of titles. You can find a number of UrbanWorks films at Best Buy and Circuit City, based on their home store demographically. What we do is try to make a wide variety of products available that will be able to be given distribution to the consumer. Some may be available at www.amazon.com and some may be available at Best Buy predominantly and some may be available across the board at all consumer stores. Our goal however is to be able to provide urban content that fits every single available distribution channel where you can find every UrbanWorks title.

Do you also work with the bigger media outlets like BET or UPN in promoting your films?

QN: Yes, we do, but obviously every title has its own market. Some of them may not include TV and some of them may. Some of them may maybe online and some of them may be consumer print. It all depends on the title and capability.

As you are preparing to leave UrbanWorks, can you name one of your biggest accomplishments?

QN: Yes, I, along with my partner Jeff Clanagan, built the company to be the #1 urban independent distributor in the business. Without a doubt, we put out 55% of the urban video market and we were able to garner 7% among major studios of the urban direct-to-video self marketing, and that's an extremely high accomplishment. We also opened the opened the doors for other minorities at major studios over the past three years and some of them have created divisions that focus on urban and multicultural market and for the very first time.

With your new company, what will be different from before?

QN: I will be more of a consultant as opposed to working for one individual company. It also broadens the capability of what I am able to do. Obviously, strategic planning, business development, marketing and sales consulting, as well as production. That allows me to do a little bit more of diverse offering. In merging my company with Code Black Entertainment, it will expand the capability of content management as well as national and sales component. In addition to that, it will allow to us to create a vertically integrated model and allow us to have multiple revenue sharing that go beyond DVD sales and that's the most significant piece we will be able to capture theatrical revenue component amongst other things.

How will a new filmmaker be able to reach out to you when looking for guidance in this business?

QN: I can be reached at my email address at QNewell@socal.rr.com. The criteria that we apply is simply that we are looking for recognizable talent to be attached to a film and for it to shot in high quality. If possible, prior exposure in the business, and if not, that is something that we can provide.


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