Name: Omid Ashtari
Big break: Being hired at CAA in 2000
Who knew? He is learning to play the piano.
There are agents and then there are agents. Creative Artists Agency’s Omid Ashtari is the latter. Because if you’re a digital star or brand, chances are he’s on the short list of dream agents for representation.
As a business development agent at Creative Artists Agency, Mr. Ashtari represents well-known Web talent and companies including “Wine Library TV’s” Gary Vaynerchuk, digital studio Electric Farm Entertainment and Internet television network Revision3, among others.
“Through the creation of new business models, we will continue to develop unique opportunities for our clients,” Mr. Ashtari said.
He’s negotiated more than 20 development deals in digital media in the past year alone with players including My Space, Fox, WB, Sony, Endemol and Ripe Digital. As a feather in his cap he also helped secure distribution for Web hits like “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and “Gemini Division,” both of which earned well over 1 million views each and were profitable. That’s no small feat on the Web, where money’s scarce to come by.
He has a keen eye for talent—both on-camera, behind-the-scenes and at the CEO level since he represents digital companies. While the digital business only generates tiny dollars compared to the big bucks from traditional TV, Mr. Ashtari has already done traditional TV. He started as a TV agent at CAA and is now focused on the digital business that some say represents the future of TV.
“In a world that is changing very quickly, it is awfully exciting to have someone on my side who has such a great feel for the pulse of the evolving media scope,” Mr. Vaynerchuk said. “What also thrills me is that I consider Omid family, and that is an unbelievably attractive situation to be in with an agent.”