Paradiso220

The U.S. market is where most podcast listening and advertising dollars can still be found, and that’s a strong lure to European companies. Just last week Stockholm-based Acast hired a new executive to ramp up its North American business. Now the French podcast studio Paradiso has opened in the U.S., hiring its first executive to lead the development of shows.

Emi Norris has been hired as U.S. Managing Director for Paradiso. The Los Angeles-based executive is in charge of creating a U.S. strategy and hiring a team for the podcast studio that launched last summer by Lorenzo Benedetti, former CEO and founder of Studio Bagel and Head of Digital at the Fresh media premium television network Canal Plus.

In a Twitter post Paradiso says Norris will not only be focused on creating and producing original shows from L.A. but will also spearhead an effort to adapt French-language programs for the English-speaking world.

“We see ourselves as a global company with European roots. We aim to identify stories with universal appeal, then adapt them to each market,” Norris told Variety, which first reported her hiring. “As podcast platforms and creators become more international, we would love to be a two-way avenue for both content and talent,” said Norris. “We are also a studio, not a network, which enables us to create content that caters to each of our partners’ unique audiences.”

Paradiso has so far focused on scripted, documentary and children-targeted podcasts. Paradiso, whose name is an homage to Giuseppe Tornatore’s iconic film “Cinema Paradiso,” has drawn from its team’s collective backgrounds in film, TV and publishing. Paradiso’s fiction-led slate includes multiple commissions from Spotify, Audible, Deezer and Sybel.

Norris said Paradiso will produce “adaptions” rather than “simple translations” of the French podcasts. “I’m honored that Lorenzo, Louis and Benoit have entrusted me to bring their vision of creating ‘cinema for the ears’ to the U.S.,” she told Variety.

Norris most recently was a consultant, working with brands in the media, retail and finance sectors on initiatives related to content development. She previously was VP of Partnerships and Distribution at the digital video company Refinery29 and was the Entrepreneur in Residence for Bertelsmann where she led strategy and business development projects throughout Bertelsmanns film, TV and digital businesses at Europe’s largest media company.