Young French podcast studio Paradiso is expanding into the US and tapped Los Angeles-based executive Emi Norris to develop a roster of original storytelling podcasts, as well as adapt Paradiso’s successful formats to the states. United States and other English-speaking markets. Paradiso is the first European podcast studio to expand on American soil.
The company opened in France in September and was created by Lorenzo Benedetti, founder of Studio Bagel and former director of digital creation for the Canal Plus Group; Louis Daboussy, former CCO of Konbini; and Benoit Dunaigre, who previously worked at Havas.
The banner specializes in producing premium scripted, documentary and children’s content for global platforms and has bowed with commissions from Spotify and Sybel. One of the banner’s objectives is also to build a library of formats that can be adapted to other media such as “Homecoming”.
Norris previously worked in digital publishing and served as a content strategy consultant for Vice Media and VP of Partnerships and Distribution for Originals at Refinery29, where she worked on sales of the “Good As Hell” podcast, among other things. hosted by Lizzo and featuring Awkwafina, as well as the “Strangers” digital series produced by Big Beach for Facebook.
Norris began his career in production, working on films by director-producers Luca Guadagnino (“Melissa P.”) and Alfonso Cuarón (“Pan’s Labyrinth”, “Children of Men”, “Rudo y Cursi”). She also produced a US election documentary series for Sky Italia and later held senior positions in television sales and digital distribution, managing films by Edward Burns, Richard Linklater and Alex Gibney.
As general manager of the new American outpost of Paradiso, Norris will soon hire two executives to work in scripted and unscripted.
“I am honored that Lorenzo, Louis and Benoit have entrusted me with the mission of bringing their vision of creating ‘cinema for the ears’ to the United States,” said Norris. “I admire their commitment to producing genuine adaptations, rather than mere translations, of global stories across borders and languages.”
She said that although the podcast market is becoming very competitive in the United States, there is still plenty of room for scripted podcasts. Norris cited the example of “Blood Ties” which proved to be very popular and even ranked in the Top 100 Apple Podcasts, which, in addition to appearing in the top charts of other leading platforms such as Spotify and Audible, is one of the main references of success in us
Norris pointed out that another area with great potential for growth was programming geared towards millennials and children.
“Podcasts get a really strong representation in the millennial demo — 39% of US podcast listeners are between the ages of 18 and 34,” the exec said, adding that there is also “a global backlash against the screens when it comes to kids, so podcasts are a great alternative.”
She added that Paradiso also stands out thanks to its European footprint.
“We see ourselves as a global company with European roots. We aim to identify stories with universal appeal, then adapt them to each market. As podcast platforms and creators become more international, we would like to be a two-way street for content and talent. We’re also a studio, not a network, which allows us to create content that speaks to each of our partners’ unique audiences,” Norris said.
The company is backed by Rodolphe Belmer, the former boss of Canal Plus Group who now sits on Netflix’s board of directors; Mediawan, chaired by Pierre-Antoine Capton; Gregory Dray of Google; Julien Leroux of Cineflix Media; and production company Iconoclast. “With these well-established companies and leaders supporting us, we are well positioned to leverage relationships and access talent from the United States and Europe. “
Paradiso’s current roster includes “The Promo Hotline”, commissioned by Spotify, a humorous interview format written and directed by Géraldine de Margerie (“Call My Agent!”) and featuring the biggest names in French music and comedy; “Chosen,” a true-crime thriller in which a teenage girl documents her friends performing dares that turn to death; and “Pockmarked”, an eight-part docuseries retracing the true story of a French serial killer on the run for 33 years.
“Chosen” and “Pockmarked” were commissioned by Sybel. The company has another fictional podcast in production with Spotify with an A-list cast attached, and a dozen more shows in development.
Paradiso also recently secured an exclusive global production deal with Brut., the digital company whose flagship podcast topped the charts on Spotify in France after just 10 days.
The Benedetti company partner is one of the pioneers of high-level audio creation in Europe. His production credits include “Calls”, a thriller series created by Timothée Hochet, which boasted a star-studded voice cast and featured audio recordings found after mysterious and tragic events.
The series was broadcast on Canal Plus and bought by Apple for an international remake currently in production.