An Update on Skybound

Mar 30, 2024
An Update on Skybound
The following is an update on a company that Jeff previously recommended as part of his paid research service on private investments. He keeps in touch with the founders and executives that he endorses and thought that the update would useful for those that previously invested in this company.

Last year, I published investment research outlining my investment thesis in Skybound Entertainment, which was conducting a crowdfunding raise at that time.

For those who are unfamiliar with the company, Skybound is a private, U.S.-based, multiplatform entertainment company, founded in 2010 by founders Robert Kirkman and David Alpert (DA).

Skybound is known for its work in comics, television, film, and interactive media and gaming.

In 2023, as a part of my private investment research service at the time, Day One Investor, I recommended that my readers take a position in Skybound as a part of their private investing portfolios. It was one of the only Reg A deals that I’ve ever recommended, and also the most well-established private company that I’ve ever endorsed.

I recently caught up with DA and Jon Goldman, the executive duo responsible for running Skybound and partners to Robert Kirkman. (Kirkman is a highly influential industry comic book writer, screenwriter, and TV producer. He’s the creator behind The Walking Dead, the American post-apocalyptic horror television series that launched in 2010 and ran for 11 seasons.)

I always enjoy keeping in touch with the executive teams at private companies that I endorse. It’s fun to track their progress, and of course I like to share these updates with my subscribers. 

And today, I’m delivering an update for my old readers, to say thank you for finding me once again. I am thrilled to be back in touch.

I’m also making the research available as a free preview for all of my Outer Limits readers who would like to familiarize themselves further with my work.

For Skybound, 2023 was a seminal year. And 2024 is shaping up to be even bigger for this multi-platform content company.

Let’s take a look at a brief summary of important wins for Skybound in 2023. I’ll expand on the bullet points in the section below the summary.

2023 “Wins” Summary

  • Invincible S2 was named “the best superhero TV series in the universe,” with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Part 2 of Season 2 began airing March 14th.
  • Launched two custom, high-production Invincible experience in Fortnite
  • Made key hires in their M&A, TV, and Games departments
  • Expanded globally in television through targeted acquisitions and strategic partnerships
  • Saw editorial revenue grow 200% with licensing partnerships, including Hasbro and Universal Monsters, a collaboration which has, to date, sold more than 1 million copies
  • Skybound’s 5th Planet Games reports all-time revenue building year

Invincible Season 2 Premiere

In 2023, we saw the debut of Invincible Season 2 on Amazon Prime. After much anticipation, the first four episodes of Season 2 began airing weekly on November 5th.

For those who are unfamiliar, Invincible is the wildly successful adult animated series that premiered on Prime in 2021, with characters voiced by an impressive suite of actors such as Seth Rogen, Sandra Oh, Jon Hamm, Mark Hamill, Jonathan Groff, Clancy Brown, Ezra Miller, and more.

Skybound's Invincible on Prime
Skybound's Invincible on Prime

Regarding the debut of Season 2 on Prime, DA told me:

“While we had no doubts the show would be a hit, we were blown away by fans and critics fervor, scoring a coveted 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and holding steady as the #1 streamed show on Prime’s platform during its month long, four-episode release.”

What’s more, the show ranked #1 in 87 countries, and was the #1 most-watched Season 2 of an animated series. It averaged nearly 25-times more views than the average TV series since 2018.

Part 2 began airing March 14, 2024, and — as I write — remains 100% “certified fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes.

Two, Custom Invincible Fortnite Experiences

Timed to the launch of Season 2 Part 2, Skybound strategically introduced two custom, one-of-a-kind Invincible experiences in Fortnite on March 15th: Invincible: Doc Seismic Attacks and GDA Combat Training.

Skybound Guardians of the Globe Gear Bundle
Skybound Guardians of the Globe Gear Bundle

The “islands” are free-to-play, multiplayer experiences from Skybound Games and independent developer House of How. They boast a level of production value that is unmatched by other UEFN (Unreal Editor for Fortnite) Creative Mode experiences, outside of Epic Games’ own owned and operated experiences, with exceptional cinematic animations, detailed character models and voice over.

With this launch, Skybound is setting the new standard for what it means to use Fortnite’s Unreal Editor tool.

More in Invincible & Games...

If there was any indication that 2023 and 2024 are some of Skybound’s biggest years yet, it would be seeing Skybound’s Wheel of Awesome model come to life.

Skybound defines this as their proprietary method for “developing brands and helping our creators tell their stories.”

Skybound's Wheel of Awesome
Skybound's Wheel of Awesome

As another example of this, Skybound not only aired Invincible Season 2 (in two, highly anticipated parts), it also launched its first standalone game set in the universe: Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, a visual novel RPG (role playing game).

It wasn't the game fans were expecting, making its success that much sweeter.

Critics and players alike gave it 10/10 for its beautiful art style and chance to make choices, as Eve in a non-cannon world to the show and comics.

You might have also heard that Skybound introduced Omni-Man into the beloved and world-renowned Mortal Kombat 1. If you haven’t played the game or watched the trailer, it’s a must.

Ed Boon and his team at NetherRealm Studios did an incredible job adapting Omni-Man's most iconic fight scenes from the show into gameplay for a mind-blowing world crossover.

Skybound Games also announced Invincible skins in the Fall Guys in Q1, as well as Invincible Presents: Guarding the Globe, a free mobile game with Ubisoft, where players take on the role of Cecil’s number 2, which secured over 100,000 downloads at launch.

Strategic Executive Hires Across the Company

One thing that was made clear to me when catching up with DA and Jon was their clear focus on building out their executive team.

Realizing their M&A strategy has been a pivotal point of growth for the company, Jeff Chaiken, former Electronic Arts executive, joined Skybound as Senior Vice President (SVP), Head of Corporate Development and Strategy in January.

And while some games studios are reeling from layoffs, Skybound sees a major opportunity to build its internal games studio with some top-level talent.

Chris Paulson, formerly of Activision Blizzard, joins the team at the end of April as the new Executive Vice-President (EVP) and General Manager of Games Publishing.

Paulson’s decade long career in games publishing at Activision Blizzard spanned more than a dozen launches, including record-breaking game launches for Diablo IV,  which delivered $666 million in the game’s first five days, Diablo Immortal, the biggest launch in the franchise’s history with 10 million installs in the first week, and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the fastest selling PC game of all time (3.7 million launch day copies). Exciting.

New hires don’t stop there. As Skybound’s TV slate beefs up, so has that team. Skybound reported that Glenn Geller, previously president of CBS, joined about a year ago as President of Television.

After him, the company began their own unscripted division, with Brent Jacoby (The Mighty Underdogs) at the helm as SVP, and Chris Goble (formerly VP of Television at MGM) as SVP of Television.

Growing Skybound Through Linear M&A

After years of groundwork and a clear vision for a global entertainment company, 2023 and 2024 will be Skybound’s biggest years in terms of growing its footprint — especially in TV.

In September, the company finalized the acquisition of Sagafilm ehf, an established and highly lauded Nordic film and TV production house. This acquisition opens doors to more resources, a vast catalogue of shared IP, and most importantly, deepens Skybound’s foothold in Europe.

Skybound is currently working on its first co-production with Sagafilm, Amazon MGM Studios, and Unlimited Stories. It’s called VAKA, a dystopian thriller set in Stockholm that follows the spread of a deadly insomnia epidemic.

This co-production is significant, and a first-of-its-kind partnership for an Amazon Original, that grants Skybound the global distribution rights for the show, cementing Skybound’s ability to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the biggest entertainment studios out there.

And it doesn’t stop there…

Skybound has a second international co-production with Prime Video, Dime Tu Nombre, a Spanish language horror series about an Imam and a Catholic priest who work together to save a local boy from possession…

Plus: Heart Attack, a live-action dystopian television series filmed in Japan following a group of persecuted Variants, based on the Skybound comic of the same name. This series is a co-production between Fuji TV, which leads production and will broadcast the series, and Skybound, which holds the global distribution rights.

In November 2023, Skybound's first African original English-language series, Classified, premiered in the Top 10 on Netflix Africa. It quickly became one of the most-watched dramas on the continent.

In December, Skybound made that foothold even deeper by investing in the newly rebranded French production house Scenario42, helmed by mega TV tastemaker Médéric Albouy.

Scenario42’s (formerly 247Max) first series is the smash French TV hit Polar Park (starring Jean-Paul Rouve). Polar Park, which Managing Partner Rick Jacobs described as the French Fargo, was released on the Franco-German television network Arte in November 2023 and has been an instant hit with over 1.6 million viewers in France on its opening night, and more than 6 million views on since its launch on the platform.

With a combined 7.6 million market share, Polar Park is the most highly viewed series for Arte in over four years. This represents about 10% of the population of France, making this a major success.

Editorial Growth

July 2023 marked Skybound’s first stand-alone booth at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC).

While not the same as years past, with both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the Con was Skybound’s for the taking.

Robert Kirkman took to Hall H with Entertainment Weekly’s Patrick Gomez, to talk all things Invincible S2… plus reveal the S2 trailer.

Kirkman and Gomez also stealth-dropped the trailer and episode for the Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, the superhero's origin story, which received resounding acclaim across the universe, hitting #1 in the top seven countries.

And speaking of stealth launches, the SDCC was also a significant moment for our editorial team to celebrate the stealth-launched Energon Universe, a shared universe between Kirkman’s Void Rivals with Hasbro’s G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS.

Daniel Warren Johnson’s TRANSFORMERS became the biggest launch of 2023 and the bestselling comic book launch in Hasbro history. And now they’ve followed it up with all-new G.I. JOE comic series, beginning with the late December launch of Duke.

The acclaimed Energon Universe series continues to achieve stellar review scores and sell out at comic book shops, with fan demand prompting subsequent printings across every issue since launch. It has sold over 1 million copies today.

Skybound’s historic partnership with Hasbro in 2023 wasn’t even the only major licensed comics line they launched…

In October 2023, they started a new line of Universal Monsters comics with Universal Products & Experiences, kicking off the lineup with Universal Monsters: Dracula #1 by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds, which is currently on its third printing.

This collaboration between Skybound and Universal is the latest milestone in a near decade long relationship that encompasses film, video games, and now comic book publishing.

Universal Monsters: Dracula will be followed by more new limited series, spotlighting the iconic monsters from some of the top creators in comics.

As we can see, the team at Skybound has been extremely busy building. I’m very pleased with all the great progress and looking forward to another fantastic year for Skybound in 2024.

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