SMG in the News: TVS to Build Studio in Cobo Atrium

Originally published by Crain’s Detroit.

By Dustin Walsh

Cobo Center‘s atrium, outfitted with a ballroom and meeting rooms, will soon be the home of a new production studio.

TVS Communications Solutions is building out the 5,000-square-foot studio in the new atrium area of Cobo, the companies were to announce today.

The studio will include a soundstage and equipment to be used by TVS, as well as others, to film segments during conventions and non-show periods at Cobo, said TVS owner and CEO Rick Ghersi.

Thom Connors, general manager of Cobo and regional vice president of its management company SMG, said the studio has been in the works for more than two years and is part of Cobo’s technology strategy.

“This is making Cobo an attractive one-stop shop for offerings needed to support larger trade shows and conventions,” Connors said. “This gives us the technical capacity on-site that is unmatched, and by doing so we have put ourselves ahead of other (convention centers), making us very much an industry leader in technology.”

The studio build, expected to be completed by mid-December, is part of the ongoing $299 million Cobo Center renovation.

TVS, a preferred vendor to the North American International Auto Show, produces marketing videos for several local companies, including Cobo, Chrysler Group LLCBlue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and others.

Cobo provided TVS with a room that TVS is transforming into a soundstage over the next few months, Connors said.

TVS, with projected revenue of $7 million this year, is leasing the space from Cobo and will pay a commission to Cobo for any work coming out of the studio, Connors said.

“By having a studio, we’re able to provide clients with (video) content, and it allows us to monetize these assets,” Connors said.

TVS outfitted Cobo with fiber-optic cables in years past to support Auto Show work they’ve done for clients as well as media, Ghersi said.

The studio is part of TVS’ move from Troy to Detroit.

Ghersi is moving TVS and his corporate training firm, LearnCom, to three floors of the Hartz Building on Broadway Street downtown. Ghersi owns the building and is co-owner of the Detroit Beer Co. on the building’s first two floors.

Ghersi said the move is triggered by abundant opportunities in the city as well as a desire to downsize studio space.

In Troy, TVS occupied more than 15,000 square feet of studio space.

“We’re shooting a lot more remote production and didn’t need all that space,” Ghersi said. “We had to think of the product mix; we had to transform a bit and change the business, which includes location as well as assets.”

The Hartz Building space will be home to the companies’ 27 employees as well as post-production work, Ghersi said.

The move and outfitting of the studio is expected to cost $500,000, Ghersi said.

TVS is also aligning companies inside the Hartz Building with a vested interest in the studio space.

Seventy 7 Productions Inc., which produces television commercials for Quicken Loans Inc.,Fathead LLC and General Motors Co. as well as music videos for Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, is leasing 1,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor. Troy-based Creative Alliance Productions LLC is also leasing space in the building for a satellite office.

“They do things we haven’t done,” Ghersi said. “We thought we could bring everyone together and all of us pick our game up a little bit.”