Pat Kiely, the former managing director of Virgin Media Television, has launched a new entertainment and talent business called BiggerStage.
Kiely is joined in the business by Jamie Macken, the former deputy MD of Core Sponorship; Sean O’Riordan, formerly of the BBC and the London-based Betty, which is part of All3Media and Jane Russell, founder of Outlaw Management.
The new company operates from Dublin and it plans to open an office in London later this month.
BiggerStage intends to develop original content for the global market and showcase Ireland as a leading hub for international television production. It also intends to form partnerships with industry stakeholders and brands to develop new ways to fund and scale the audio-visual sector as well as leveraging market benefits and incentives in Ireland. A third string to its bow will see it represent major talent in broadcasting and entertainment as well as offering a development programme for up-and-coming talent with big ambition.
“Ireland can play a bigger part in creating and producing world-class programming for the international market. Global demand for quality content has never been so high and BiggerStage will offer a unique approach, showcasing Ireland’s capabilities across TV production, format creation and talent development,” says Kiely.
“As a country, we enjoy so many benefits that are hugely attractive to international programme makers. We also have an abundance of talent across the media industry that can fuel the demands of the major networks and streamers for whom popular content remains king. In joining some of the dots across our three pillars of activity, we hope we can play our part in helping Irish talent play on a bigger stage,” he adds.
Kiely is one of the most experienced media professionals in the industry. A popular and well-liked figure, he has chalked up over 25 years’ experience in media and advertising. He started his advertising career in Saatchi and Saatchi before being appointed as media director of DDFH&B. He then joined TV3 in 1998 as its director of sales and soon assumed a broader commercial role within the company and was appointed as commercial director in 2007 and managing director in January 2016.
During this time he also played a key commercial role for the broadcaster in its dealings with different shareholders, including Canwest and later Doughty Hanson which ultimately sold its shareholding in 2015 to Virgin Media Ireland, part of Liberty Global. He also played a key role in the rebranding and the expansion of the broadcaster and its stations while ensuring that it was embedded as a key operating division within the wider Virgin Media group.
Jamie Macken, director of funding and partnerships at BiggerStage, previously worked for Core where he was deputy MD of Core Sponsorship. He has also worked with the likes of RTÉ, Thinkhouse and Newstalk.
“I’m excited to work with agencies and brands to create real value through brilliant television content and talent. Our team has experience spanning advertising, media, programming and talent, so we are ideally positioned to join the dots across the industry, creating new ways of funding returnable projects that can travel,” says Macken.
Sean O’Riordan, meanwhile, is BiggerStage’s creative director. An award-winning producer with a track record in developing factual entertainment formats and documentary series for UK and US broadcasters, he previously held senior development roles at the BBC, Betty, Chalkboard, and 7Wonder.
For her part, Jane Russell, BiggerStage’s director of talent, is also a board member of Comic Relief in Ireland and she joins BiggerStage with an extensive client list from Outlaw Management, the agency she founded in 2017. The talent roster includes: Bláthnaid Treacy, Brian Redmond, Ciara King, Deirdre O’Kane, Edwin Sammon, Grace Mulvey, Laura O’Mahony, Lords of Strut, Louise McSharry, Muireann O’Connell, Niamh Kavanagh and Sarah McInerney.