New Company Out to cause RIOT with Tweens

Freshly minted RIOT Media is making a bid to capture the tween boys market with comic books and animated and live-action productions for TV and home video distribution. The New York City-based company’s flagship property, an action/comedy franchise called RIOT, will be accompanied by collectible trading cards, toys, electronic games, action figures and other licensed products. RIOT president and CEO Jay Gissen also announced the formation of RIOT Consulting, which will provide strategy and expertise to other organizations seeking to reach the tween market.

All creative RIOT content stems from a central, core story set in a small American city that is threatened when an evil circus arrives and the performers set out to drive the locals insane and steal their mental powers. Faced with this threat, the town’s boys rally and fight back with the help of a very special chimp who escapes from the circus. As the true hero of the story, Riot the Chimp will serve as the mascot of the entire RIOT brand and will be featured prominently in all materials and products, the first of which are expected to be available to consumers in the spring of 2005.

RIOT Consulting has already been retained by TV Guide, for whom Gissen recently served as director of editorial operations and development. The company will help the long-standing publication reach younger, wider audiences through advertising, advertorials, cable and satellite providers and special interest publications.

Prior to TV Guide, Gissen held a senior position at TVSM Inc., where he re-launched the monthly Cable Guide and launched the weekly Total TV and the website Total TV Online. Gissen also re-launched US Magazine for Jann Wenner and served as the publication’s editor and executive editor.

Other RIOT principals include chief content advisor Mike Hammer, who was one of the founding editors of Stuff and Maxim Magazines, and TV Guide alum Rob Edelstein, who serves as editor-in-chief of RIOT magazine and RIOT Online.

More information on RIOT can be found at