Bill Gates’ digital media company Corbis has acquired Norm Marshall & Associates (NMA), the branded content and entertainment marketing outfit, the companies have confirmed.
Los Angeles-based NMA was founded by Norm Marshall 30 years ago and has been a fixture in the branded content business.
Gates founded Corbis in 1989 as a digital image company; it has been expanding its entertainment marketing capabilities with acquisitions. Last year, it bought SplashNews, a purveyor of celebrity photographs.
Corbis also has a subsidiary company GreenLight, an entertainment consultancy that secures the rights to music, celebrities, film footage and other usage rights to media clients. GreenLight and NMA will form a new division at Corbis that will be overseen by Mark Owens, NMA president.
The combination of GreenLight and NMA, Owens said, will “provide global brands and agencies a turnkey solution for all of their entertainment marketing needs, including product integration and entertainment tie-ins, talent negotiations, rights clearances, music licensing, red carpet events and celebrity seeding to name a few.”
Gary Shenk, CEO of Corbis, added that the deal, coupled with GreenLight’s offerings, would enable Corbis to offer better “connectivity between global brands and the entertainment community.” Based in Seattle, Corbis has offices in Europe, Asia and Australia that conduct business in more than 50 countries.
CEO Norm Marshall established his company in 1979 as a product placement specialist for film and TV. Clients include General Motors, Heineken, Motorola, Puma and Xbox. “We have been connecting global brands with the industry’s premiere film and broadcast productions for over 30 years,” Marshall stated. “With the entertainment industry model rapidly shifting toward digital and interactive distribution, Corbis’ global footprint and existing relationships in the entertainment and creative industries will allow us to expand our services, increase our global reach and accelerate growth.”
In 2008, NMA formed subsidiary Vanguard Entertainment Media Marketing Group, a unit that specializes in content partnerships and entertainment and lifestyle PR. NMA also has offices in New York and London.