Larry Namer: President/CEO, Metan Global Entertainment Group & Co-Founder, E! Entertainment Television

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My Native Admission Statement: My best skill is being able to observe popular cultures anywhere in the world and then being able to create content that is relevant in that country.  Most people think it comes from my mother dropping me in my head as a child ( true )

Bio: An entertainment industry veteran with over 45 years professional experience in cable television, live events and new media, Larry Namer is a founding partner of Metan Global Entertainment Group (MGEG), a venture created to develop and distribute entertainment content and media specifically for Chinese speaking audiences in China and abroad.In 2018, the company launched the MGEG Film Fund I and serves as managing partner.  He is also the executive producer on the recently announced feature film “EMPRESS.” 

Mr. Namer is the co-founder of E! Entertainment Television, a company now valued at over $3.5 billion USD, and the creator of several successful companies in the United States and overseas. Among those companies are Comspan Communications that pioneered Western forms of entertainment in the former Soviet Union and Steeplechase Media that served as the primary consultant to Microsoft’s MiTV for developing interactive TV applications. 

His vision and direction garnered VCTV several Emmy and Cable ACE award nominations, as well as recognition by Forbes magazine as the national model for local cable television programming. In 1989, he was awarded the prestigious President’s Award from the National Cable Television Association. He was honored with the “Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television Award” at the 19th Asian Television Awards in Singapore, and most recently was presented with the International Media Legacy Award at the 2017 Elite Awards Foundation Gala and the Hollywood Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment at the 2018 Hollywood Tribute Awards and the 2019 Hollywood China Night, both in Celebration of Academy Awards®.

How did you get into the industry?

I got into the cable business right out of college. I took a summer job slicing cables underneath the streets of New York City for a company called Sterling Manhattan Cable TV. At that time no one knew what cable TV was and most people laughed at the idea of paying for television.

Any emerging industry trends?

I’m beginning to take a more serious look at the use of holograms in both entertainment and education. The use in entertainment is fairly obvious with things like having Tupac arise at Coachella, but in education there is the opportunity to change the world. Imagine a university lecture hall in every country in the world where hologram Einstein is delivering a physics lecture in the local language. Blow that up bigger and you can have the best teachers in the world for any subject provide students around the globe the same high quality educational experience. It would change the landscape of education.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Well, it used to be fairly simple to budget and forecast for any new entertainment or media venture. They were all based very heavily on the anticipation of results in the United States market. Nowadays, you have to consider many other countries individually, such as China, Germany, UK, France and even Israel.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

As the co-founder of E! I can tell you that Alan Mruvka (my partner in that venture) and I thought of cable TV as an electronic newspaper. Remember, this was in the pre-Internet days. CNN was the headlines, ESPN was the sports pages, etc. but what was noticeably missing was the second most read section, which was the entertainment pages. So we set out to create the entertainment pages of the electronic newspaper.

For the latest company, Metan, again fairly obvious (to us anyway) was the fact that the economic growth of China was on an upswing that would put it among the top consumer markets in the world in a very short period of time. Marty Pompadur, Jean Zhang and I wanted to get in early and have our foot in the door, when the rest of the world finally woke up to the economic power of China.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Metan has expanded its offerings beyond just producing content for the Internet and TV. We are now doing feature films and have established a film investment fund. We have launched a consulting group that helps Western companies set up and operate in the China market. With The Davinci Experience, we now have a touring museum show.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

For Metan, the smartest thing we did was to decide very early on to produce in Mandarin language and not expect them to embrace things in English with subtitles.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

One of our first shows was called “Hello Hollywood” which ran daily for eight years. It was a look at Hollywood news and lifestyle but done specifically for the China audience. What Americans expect from such a show is very different than what the Chinese audience expects. They were very appreciative of the fact that this show was done exclusively with them in mind.

How do you motivate others?

In Hollywood culture, there are several ways to motivate people and it really depends on the individual. Some measure by the amount of money you pay them. Others by the screen credits you give them. Yet others, by the degree of autonomy and creative freedom offered.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Learn how to self-evaluate your efforts in as much of an impartial way as possible. The problems most entrepreneurs have is they think everything they come up with is brilliant and they hang on too long to bad ideas.

What do I do best?

Cooking. I have been cooking since 12 and have probably read over 300 cookbooks. I can eat anything in a restaurant then recreate it at home with one or two tries.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Being even keeled and not having extreme highs or lows. I rarely stress over things that probably will be less important with just a bit of patience.

What are my aspirations?

To get the movie “Empress” made and win some awards for it. When I told people four years ago that I wanted to do a film with all Asian actors speaking English, they laughed. They are not laughing anymore.

My Biggest Success?

I created a story call “Return To The Village Of Good Fortune,” which was about the contradictions of modern life in China. It was made into a sitcom which ran 70 episodes on national TV in China. It was nominated as best comedy at the Asian TV Awards (didn’t win, but was the only sitcom from China that year). So while most people think I would say creating E! with Alan Mruvka, that’s not it. Creating a comedy about a country I wasn’t born in and made in a language that I can’t speak is much more of an accomplishment in my eyes.

My Motto?

Our purpose in life is to leave it a better place in every aspect.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Shanghai, Croatia along the Adriatic, Cannes

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Iphone and Ipad. Huron Juicer. Jura coffee machine.

My Current Passions?

Learning how to cook things from different countries. I’ve mastered about a dozen so far but I’m turning my attention toward Brazil now.My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Don’t eat bread or cake.

Thought of the Day: How did we as a country ever get to this point. Everyone fights and no one really cares.

Tip of the Day: Never hire relatives. It will come back to bite you in the butt every time.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The weather

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Uncle Bernie’s Deli in Encino - Bagel and Lox

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Reading emails and the news

10:00 AM – Answering emails or going to meetings

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks

7:00 PM - Cooking dinner or getting ready to go out for dinner

11:00 PM – Playing words with friends

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Coffee, 2

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

pandora

What should everyone try at least once?

Oysters from the East Coast

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Any remaining bookstore

Larry Namer & Oona Chaplin at SDG Moonshots Summit

Larry Namer & Oona Chaplin at SDG Moonshots Summit