Kevin Hart has announced the formation of HARTBEAT, the new company that comes amid a merger between his HartBeat Productions and Laugh Out Loud.
It is described as a “new global, multi-platform media company creating entertainment at the intersection of comedy and culture with a mission to keep the world laughing together.”
Both companies have been operating as separate entities with the comedian as the head for more than a decade. The goal is for HARTBEAT to serve as the #1 source of comedic storytelling and experiences. Several major hitters, including the likes of Amanda Seales, Charlamagne Tha God, and Deon Cole have projects under the umbrella. There are also major projects in the works set to premiere on Netflix, HBO Max and Roku to name a few.
The merger serves dual purpose in creating content and brand expansion
Hart has combined Hartbeat Productions’ TV & film production capabilities with Laugh Out Loud’s distribution network, marketing, sales, experiential, branded content, digital and social capabilities.
HARTBEAT launches with a $100M investment
The investment comes from private equity firm, Abry Partners, which took a minority investment in the new company. Abry Partners partner Nicolas Massard will be joining HARTBEAT’s board. Peacock, the streaming platform for NBCUniversal remains a shareholder. Peacock signed a multi-year, first-look deal and, took an equity stake in Laugh Out Loud in 2020.
With the funding from Arby Partners, HARTBEATintends to expand its team, accelerate growth for existing brands and franchises, create new IP that connects with global audiences, and leverage HARTBEAT’s creative engine, relationships, and resources to collaborate with today’s most influential stars and rising comedic talent talent both in front of and behind the camera.
The existing leadership team from Hartbeat Productions and Laugh Out Loud remains.
Hart will act as Chairman of the company. Thai Randolph, who led the capital raise and previously held positions as President & COO of Laugh Out Loud and COO of Hartbeat Productions, has been promoted as CEO of HARTBEAT. Also promoted within the companies include Hartbeat Productions’ Bryan Smiley as the new President & Chief Content Officer, and LOL’s Jeff Clanagan becoming President & Chief Distribution Officer. HartBeat Productions co-founder Leland Wigington is leading the new production banner.
Kevin Hart says the new company represents a new era in comedy
“In an industry that loves to say no and close doors, I’ve been bullish about forging our own path and using our success to open doors for others.,” he said in a statement. “With this merger and funding, we’re taking the new blueprint we’ve built in entertainment to the next level and creating opportunities for a new generation of comedic talent. I can’t wait to bring the world more comedians, experiences, and stories with humor and heart.”
“We’ve scaled our business in an ever changing media landscape by delivering comedy to audiences wherever and whenever they want to laugh, and have demonstrated an unmatched ability to generate sales, subscriptions and eyeballs for some of the top entertainment and brand partners in the world, while driving cultural currency and conversation among some of the most coveted audiences,” says CEO Thai Randolph. “At HARTBEAT, we’re building an end-to-end entertainment enterprise that creates, markets and distributes the most culturally relevant IP and experiences in comedy and beyond. The merger and capital raise help us further scale and invest in the future of comedic entertainment, creating more high demand content and experiences at the intersection of comedy and culture.”
The following three divisions will be under HARTBEAT:
HARTBEAT Studios, led by Bryan Smiley, finances, develops and produces film, TV, content at the intersection of comedy and culture
HARTBEAT Media, led by Jeff Clanagan, connects with consumers around the world through events, gaming, music publishing, Web3 initiatives, and an expansive distribution network
PULSE, the company’s branded entertainment studio, serves as a creative and cultural consultancy to brands such as P&G, Lyft, Sam’s Club, Chase and Verizon.
The LOL Network will also continue to operate under HARTBEAT and continue “to be the company’s flagship consumer brand, reaching audiences across its O&O social media, audio (SiriusXM) and OTT partners (Peacock, Roku, Tubi, PlutoTV, Vizio, Redbox, Xumo, and more).”
HARTBEAT is in various stages of development or production “on more than sixty projects across 15+ entertainment partners” and has several multi-yer partnerships including “an unscripted first look deal with NBCU’s Peacock, a film deal with Netflix, a partnership with SiriusXM, and a deal with Audible in partnership with Charlamagne Tha God via the joint venture SBH Productions.”
Their upcoming projects include: Me Time (Netflix) with Mark Wahlberg and Regina Hall, Storytown (HBO Max), the F. Gary Gray action heist Lift (Netflix) and more.