VOL. 6 | NO. 32 | Saturday, August 03, 2013
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
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Strategic Change Bolsters Flashlight Media
By Amos Maki
John Haun was happy working for Memphis-based sports agent Jimmy Sexton.
While Sexton focused on representing clients in contract negotiations, Haun was responsible for lining up marketing and endorsement deals for the company’s clients, including University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
Then Haun received a phone call that would end up changing his life.
John Haun, president of Flashlight Media Group, a Memphis-based full-service film and video production company.
(Flashlight Media Group)
Representatives from Memphis-based Flashlight Media Group, a full-service film and video production company that had been producing a series of sports-based documentaries called “Defining Moments,” approached Haun about producing a documentary on the legendary Alabama coach.
“I was very intrigued, because as a marketing representative you always want to bring your clients creative deals, and there was never a documentary done on an active coach and presented in theaters,” Haun said. “I was also very apprehensive because (Saban) is an all-business kind of guy and focused on winning football games and nothing else.”
“Nick Saban: Gamechanger” was released in 40 theaters and was the No. 1 movie in Alabama the week it was released. In the first three months after the film’s release, it sold 15,000 DVDs.
“I really got to know a lot of about Flashlight in that process: their vision, the good things about their business model, the vulnerable aspects of their business model,” Haun said. ”I really learned a lot about them through that process.”
The company started in 2000 as Flashlight Films before changing its name to Flashlight Media Group in 2007.
When Haun came on board as vice president in 2010, Flashlight was focusing almost exclusively on original content – video content the company funded, produced, directed, owned and even distributed.
Haun saw an opportunity for growth and implemented a major shift in the company’s strategy, moving the company toward commercial production by making content for other individuals, groups or businesses.
That move opened the company up to a whole new world of possibilities.
“My vision was, let’s take my experience with high-level customer service, combined with your experience in high-level production, and let’s offer the most sophisticated commercial production service there is,” said Haun, now serving as president of Flashlight Media. “We’re not just creating content for ourselves, but we’re actually creating content for other people. It’s their vision, their project, and they’re hiring us to create it for them.”
While Flashlight still produces its own content, Haun said the vast majority of the company’s business now is contract commercial production. The company produces everything from television commercials and Web clips to training videos and more.
One of Flashlight Media’s major local clients is the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament. Flashlight produces commercials for the annual event and films the tournament to produce videos in hopes of luring golfers and sponsors.
One of the videos produced for the golf tournament shows attendees having a raucous time with a band playing in the background. Suddenly, the now-famous “Hush Y’all” signs shoot out of the crowd before a voice asks people to “come play” at the golf tournament.
“We’re huge fans of the event and for what that event means to the city. It is a huge privilege to be their exclusive video partner,” Haun said. “It’s very humbling and we do feel a responsibility to present this city well.”
The company has also produced content for Collierville-based Pyramex Safety Products LLC, which specializes in protective eyewear, with distribution in the United States Canada, Europe, South America and Africa.
“We’re thankful they gave us the opportunity to produce content that is viewed internationally,” Haun said.
While the company has worked with a host of local clients, it found another growth opportunity by bringing production to Memphis from other markets.
“We’re able to go to other major markets and bring production back to Memphis because we’re able to provide a better service than they were able to find in their markets,” Haun said.
For instance, Flashlight Media does all the production work for the Rivers of Hope Foundation, the charitable organization founded by San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and his wife, Tiffany.
The foundation focuses on helping unwanted, abandoned and orphaned children find permanent homes.
“There’s no shortage of service production providers in the area there,” Haun said, “but they came to us to exclusively produce their video content.”