Media One expands its focus along with new business

With new clients including Genesis, the agency aims to build a global content offering, served out of a new Toronto headquarters.

City of the Arts

Media One Group is building a new headquarters to ensure its global ambitions, expanding business focus and growing client roster can be served out of Toronto.

Derek Rider, co-founder and CEO of Media One Creative and Media One Group, says the agency is picking up a lot of its new business in the United States and stewarding it out of Toronto. While Rider couldn’t speak about much of the new business yet, it was awarded new work this month with Hyundai’s luxury automotive brand Genesis, including producing personalized video content.

Media One Creative is likely best known for branded content, but increased demand has led it to expand outside of just production, establishing a creative and client services department for a bigger offering built around content.

The company has set several ambitious targets for 2030, including earning recognition as a best place to work, producing award-winning work in over 50 countries and across its 10 global offices, and earning overall services revenue exceeding $100 million USD – all while remaining headquartered in Toronto. In addition to Media One Creative, the company has expanded to become the Media One Group, which includes Honor Society and Soapbox in the U.S., as well as Inc. Content in London, according to its website.

“Toronto, and Canada more broadly, has the talent pool, infrastructure, entertainment ecosystem and possibilities to build the next great creative and production agency,” says Rider. “We are doing it from here, from home.”

As part of that process, Media One Creative has brought on several new executives over the last year. To lead creative, it brought on ECD Alex Furrer one year ago, bringing varied creative experience to the role, including as CCO for OgilvyOne and as creative and strategy director for corporate event management company Wynford.

“It’s a chance to build a creative team of big thinkers who have a passion for content and film that’s both narrative and doc-style,” Furrer says of her work over the last year. “And it’s a chance to bring different experts into the ideation process sooner.”

It has also hired Shelley Waterhouse, formerly of Track DDB and Tribal Worldwide, to lead client services, with financial controller Muhammad Murtaza Khan and interim head of production Mary Lin Tang (covering for Aine Corby, who is on maternity leave) rounding out the executive leadership team.

In more recent additions, Media One hired senior copywriter CJ Bosco and account director Lisa Sousa last month.

To house these ambitions and growing team, Rider and co-founder Corey Peck have acquired additional space at 130 Queen’s Quay East in Toronto – giving staff access to a total of 32,000 square feet – that the company is fully renovating to include production facilities and a state-of-the-art post-production studio, designed by Martin Pilchner.

“Instead of retrofitting an existing office, we thought we need to start with a blank slate and build the office of the future, to allow for the future of work to be conducted,” says Rider.