(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Jonathan Epstein, a leading figure in the video gaming and interactive media worlds, has joined United Talent Agency (UTA). Epstein will be opening up the San Francisco office for UTA, marking the first time a major entertainment agency has established a presence in the heart of the electronic gaming and Internet businesses located in Northern California. With the addition of Epstein, the agency expects to significantly expand its current video game and interactive operations into new areas representing the convergence of gaming, filmed entertainment, and the marketing and advertising worlds.
Epstein brings 20+ years of media and marketing experience to UTA and with him brings a profound track record of success in creating new products, markets and business models in the Internet and gaming businesses. Epstein has played a leading role in the development of the online media serving the gamer having served in key executive roles for all of the top online media serving that industry. As founding president and CEO of GameSpot.com, Epstein reshaped the way by which gamers get their information, and the ways that marketers most effectively reach gamers. As president of GameSpy, Epstein transformed that smaller company into a media powerhouse, building the largest subscription base of any gaming service, and later helping spearhead the merger of GameSpy with IGN Entertainment, where he served as executive vice president and general manager, media, for the bulk of 2004.
More than 50 million video gamers each month log on to a service that Epstein helped build, and the properties he has founded earn annual revenues closing in on $100 million per year.
"UTA offers a tremendous platform to bring together tastemakers and dealmakers in the worlds of entertainment, gaming and marketing," said Epstein. "As the scale of the gaming economy grows and the complexity of the game's intellectual property becomes more dependent on quality story telling, it is refreshing to see a shop such as UTA taking such a proactive step. I could not be more excited about this opportunity.
"The video gaming industry and the entertainment industry have amazing synergies which seem obvious but have yet to be fully realized," said UTA Board member Jeremy Zimmer. "Our strategy in adding Jon to the agency and establishing UTA in the geographic heart of the video gaming industry is to build a deeper, more effective relationship between the games industry, Hollywood and brands who are seeking innovative marketing solutions."
UTA has already become a significant force in bringing together Hollywood and the gaming community under the aegis of agent Brent Weinstein, who with Epstein and an interdisciplinary team of agents will form the nucleus of UTA's video game and interactive practice. UTA has successfully crossed over its writer, director and actor clients, many of whom are working with leading publishers and developers. Most recently, UTA paired director client John Singleton (2 FAST 2 FURIOUS) with Midway to create the upcoming console title, "John Singleton's Fear and Respect." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen