Fresh from its split with Himalaya Media last week, the content studio formerly known as HiStudios has rebranded itself as Notorious to help put further distance from its previous sister company. Based in Los Angeles, CEO Peter Vincer says his team will continue to produce sports and entertainment-focused shows. The division was spun out of its parent company last June with plans to create podcasts featuring sports celebrities and other cultural influencers, many with a video component.
“By providing intimate access to many of the world’s most influential and interesting people, and with our unique approach to content distribution, we see ourselves as leading the pack in today’s decentralized media landscape,” Vincer said.
Among the Notorious Original shows released to date are Zane and Heath Unfiltered with YouTube stars Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar; Getcha Popcorn Ready with T.O. and Hatch, featuring NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens; and former NBA All-Star Caron Butler’s Tuff Juice podcast.
As for the Notorious name that Vincer has hung on the door, he explains: “In history, being ‘notorious’ has been, at times, perceived as negative. But we feel — especially in reflecting on the greatest media of our past — it has described the rebellious anti-hero, a spirit of independence and righteousness that is a characteristic of our company’s culture and the media icons we have under our banner.”
The decision to split the podcast listening platform Himalaya Media from its content development arm and create two standalone media entities was billed as a way to allow them both to grow according to their own strategic priorities.
San Francisco-based Himalaya has relied on a freemium business model – offering some content for free with ads and other ad-free content only for subscribers – and will also pivot its production focus toward developing audio education content, including shows on history, literature, psychology, business, career development, communication, problem-solving and wellness. That content shift is more in line with the direction its Chinese-based owners have found success in Asia. Himalaya’s lead investor, Ximalaya FM, is China’s largest spoken-word audio platform with more than 600 million users.