Entertainment, whether written, filmed, performed, or otherwise has always been a fundamental force for influencing the ways in which we think and behave in society. Creators tell their stories and are able to entertain, excite, and inspire audiences of all ages, sometimes, in the process, forging deep connections and understanding that helps us make sense of the world around us and our roles within it.
With the proliferation of networks, channels, and platforms, there now exists many opportunities for creators to not only reach more targeted or niche audiences but also to increase awareness and activism around specific issues, particularly those issues that might be important to both creators and their constituents.
Enter social impact entertainment.
What Is Social Impact Entertainment?
Social impact entertainment, or SIE for short, is storytelling that inspires progressive environmental and social impacts while also delivering base entertainment to audiences. SIE material can be produced across a diverse range of mediums, including television, film (fiction and documentary), theater, music, videogames, and even immersive entertainment such as VR/AR experiences.
SIE is a small but growing part of the entertainment world, fueled, in part, by the rise of the “conscious viewer’, a close cousin of the conscious consumer, who seeks entertainment that addresses the environmental and social issues of concern. Audiences are demanding content that shines a spotlight on the challenges of their worlds and the work being done to positively affect change.
How Social Impact Entertainment Works
SIE employs the influential power of storytelling strategically, creating content that simultaneously entertains and promotes a positive societal or environmental impact.
This graphic from the Impact Field Guide below provides a helpful breakdown of the different approaches SIE can take, depending on the context and history of the issue at hand. Each quadrant corresponds to a recommended storytelling goal that best suits issues of that nature. For example, the top-left quadrant would correspond to the goal or opportunity of revealing something previously unknown to an audience like the dolphin hunting practices of one Japanese town spotlighted in the award-winning 2009 documentary The Cove.
From small budget documentaries to summer blockbusters, thoughtfully developed entertainment can inspire perception shifts and actionable change.
Examples of Social Impact Entertainment
Popular environmental documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth and Before the Flood are both examples of recent SIE productions that received mainstream media attention, but you could also more broadly include blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow. Studies conducted before and after the film’s release confirmed that viewers of the “cli-fi” action-thriller had increased concerns about the effects of climate change compared with non-watchers.
Michael Molitor, the primary science consultant for The Day After Tomorrow said at the time, “This film could do more in helping us move in the right direction than all the scientific work and all the U.S. Congressional testimonies put together.”
How LOHAS Capital Supports Social Impact Entertainment Ventures
To support the needs of SIE studios and productions, the LOHAS Capital SIE team offers deal preparation and execution, including the development of a compelling investment thesis, careful selection of the most appropriate execution options, and help selecting investors, merger and joint-venture strategic partners, and the potential buyers who are most motivated to act.
To accomplish such goals, we create thoughtful and effective offering memoranda and marketing materials; conduct focused and energetic marketing efforts; and execute strategic plans based on our decades of combined industry expertise and business experience. We apply the same operational insight and knowledge to auctions, buyer assignments, and strategic advice.
In the process of working on capitalization and other financing projects, we rely on extensive valuation experience in traditional and digital media, including film, television, videogame, publishing, music, transmedia Internet services and content, computer software, technology, and other industries, including in the field of sports. Our analysis is informed by a variety of inputs: competitive analysis, industry dynamics, financial performance, possible buyer synergies, and multiple approaches to company/production valuation.
Need guidance and support for your SIE studio or production? Contact the LOHAS team to discuss the best paths forward for your venture.