Throughout the years, U.S. film and TV veteran Irv Holender has been involved with over 10 entertainment enterprises, and acquired film and TV libraries from more than 30 companies, some of which converged into Multicom, the group he now serves as chairman of.
Holender’s life, career, and accomplishments will be highlighted in VideoAge‘s Hall of Fame feature in its October (MIPCOM) Issue.
Acquiring film and TV libraries has been Holender’s main goal from the start, more so than producing new content, and he’s now one of the world’s foremost experts in finding, assessing, and acquiring them. Between 2010 and 2017, Multicom acquired 14 film and TV libraries for a total of over 7,000 hours of content.
“I realized early on the risk of producing, and began focusing on content, especially on proven historical iconic TV series and films,” Holender said. “The preference is always to own. However, we still distribute third-party content.”
Throughout his career, Holender witnessed all five major development phases of the television business: the growth of domestic (U.S.) syndication, the emergence of U.S. cable TV networks, the development of home video, the evolution of international television, and the explosion of digital media. (Four of these phases are represented in the above pictures of him.)
As an independent operator, he had to adapt to each of the new phases and every new business environment.
After becoming a vp at Desilu in 1967 at the age of 22 and co-founding licensing company Holcorp in 1968, Holender’s third challenge was the co-creation of ZIV International in 1971, where he served as executive producer for over 600 hours of television programming.
In 1982, Holender sold his shares of ZIV International to Lorimar, became president and COO of ZIV/Lorimar, and took over worldwide sales and licensing for series like Knots Landing and Falcon Crest.
In 1984, after leaving Lorimar, he created the Independent Network Incorporated (INI), which, in 1986, partnered with the TV series GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). Holender became GLOW‘s executive producer and syndicator. INI parted ways with GLOW after the series ended its fourth and final season in 1990. In 2017, the show became the inspiration for a Netflix dramedy.
In 1997, Holender merged INI with Liberty International, and became Liberty’s chairman a year later. In 2005, Clarity Partners acquired Liberty and renamed it Liberation Entertainment. Holender stayed on as vice chairman until 2007.
In 2008, Holender joined the iconic The Fremantle Corporation (which is not associated with RTL’s Fremantle) as one of its principal directors. Two years later, Holender sold his interest in The Fremantle Corporation and activated Multicom, which brought him back to his first love — the acquisition of libraries and content.
Multicom was originally founded by Holender in 1995 as a music and merchandising publishing company. In 2013, Multicom experienced a generational change when Irv’s son, the then 37-year-old Darrin, joined as president. Since then he has increased the digital presence of the company globally.