Media Centre

Passion Distribution strikes strategic partnership with new content branding agency, CoLab x

24 January 2024 | Passion Distribution
Passion Distribution strikes strategic partnership with new content branding agency, CoLab x

Passion Distribution announces investment and strategic partnership in CoLab x, the new innovative branded content agency founded by industry leaders Matt Ford and Maryam Hamizadeh.

Specialising in entertainment, sport and music, CoLab x is first of its kind, in being talent led in the social branded content space. CoLab x works with talent, creators, and IP owners to navigate between the traditional and digital worlds, helping to diversify their interests and maximize their commercial potential through digital content, brand partnerships and other IP ventures. 

CoLab x provides talent with new, alternative ways to get their content ideas made whilst retaining creative control and gives brands a unique way to partner with talent and creators through meaningful content that resonates and cuts through. The traditional ad market is currently undergoing huge change and advertiser funded programming is set to see significant growth in the year ahead.

Passion Distribution’s partnership with CoLab x aims to further explore content development, funding, and distribution opportunities in an evolving landscape. Brokered by Passion Distribution’s COO, Nick Rees, this partnership aligns with Passion Distribution’s commitment to innovative content production and distribution.Rees said, ‘Passion Distribution has always been at the forefront of innovative ways to produce and distribute content. Following the successful launch of UpStream Media last year, we have a growing network of channels with highly engaged audiences consuming millions of hours of content each month. Working with talent and brands to develop new IP and service those audiences was a logical next step.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Emmanuelle Namiech, Passion Distribution’s CEO, emphasized the strategic value of working with CoLab x. "Matt and Maryam have deep relationships with brands and talent. This partnership allows us to access those worlds, creating new partnerships and developing new IP to bridge the gap between TV and digital whilst leveraging the production and distribution expertise from within the Tinopolis Group.”

Matt Ford, CoLab x Co-founder, said “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Passion Distribution and take CoLab x to the next level, continuing to build our unique offering of talent and brands collaborating to create social branded content on talent channels.  Brands need to be braver in 2024, they need to be different to attract attention.   We are providing brands with a new way to diversify their spend and reach large, loyal, and engaged audiences where they are, by partnering with talent in meaningful ways. The fit with the Tinopolis Group is perfect and we could not have picked a better partner.”

CoLab x was founded by Matt Ford Co-Founder and CEO and Maryam Hamizadeh Co-Founder and CBO who lead the team across commercial, IP, Creative, Digital Strategy and Social Monetisation. Ford is one of the pioneers of Social Branded Content, having built and led the commercial team at UNILAD, one of the biggest social publishers in the world.  Following consulting roles at Vice and Social Chain, Matt set up 4Studio commercially at Channel 4, leading the first broadcaster to market with a social branded content offering. More recently, he was VP Commercial, Digital at BBC Studios before founding CoLab x in July 2023.  Hamizadeh spent 15 years at Haymarket Media Group as Divisional Director before moving to YMU Group, Europe’s largest talent management company, to set up new divisions and diversify income.  Hamizadeh led global teams across IP, commercial, creative, production, live and strategy.

CoLab x also works with advisors Michele Rinchiuso and Jordan Schwarzenberger. Rinchiuso is currently the CEO and Founder of MR2 Studios, Senior Vice President International Business of EMW Global, Co-Founder of Another Level Holdings and Co-Founder of BSM Ltd. In addition to his full-time roles, he is an advisor to the board of Analytics FC and supports the charity Football for Peace. Rinchiuso began his professional career at PUMA Global, followed by Roc Nation International as VP of International, and YMU where he was the Global Managing Director of Sports. Schwarzenberger previously worked as a creative at VICE and LADbible, before becoming the first Chief Creative Officer at YMU Group (formerly James Grant). Schwarzenberger is co-founder of Arcade Media, the management company for Europe’s biggest creators The Sidemen (244m+ cross channel followers).