Move Over India - Here Comes Peru: Two Former Milken Executives Operate Full Service Multimedia Production Studio in Trendy Lima Suburb

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Multimedia development studio opens in Peru after two American entrepreneurs learn about globalization the hard way. North South Studios, run by Sarina Simon and Bill Newell, former senior executives at Philips Media, IXL, and Knowledge Universe, has grown to 50 employees, drawing on the talent rich pool of Lima Peru. Clients include MGA Entertainment, Leapfrog, K12, Teleflip, and Knowledge Adventure.

How do two American entrepreneurs with years of Fortune 500 experience end up building a company in Lima, Peru? Sarina Simon, former CEO of the Knowledge Kids Network and Bill Newell, its former COO, learned about outsourcing the hard way -- by being beaten at their own game. "It was 2003 when our biggest client told us that we had lost out on a bid to a company in Costa Rica. Later that year, the same thing happened, only that time it was Argentina," recalls Newell.

Although the lesson was strongly felt, it didn't ruin the company's prospects, and in the spring of 2004 the Knowledge Kids Network was sold to LeapFrog Toys.

"After the deal was concluded, LeapFrog asked us to produce some new products for them and that's when we turned to Lima," said Simon. Although born in America, Newell had largely grown up in Lima and had trusted contacts in the creative and business community. Within weeks they assembled a small crew and work began on an electronic toy and its accompanying print components.

"Finding talent was not a problem. Lima had many well-educated artists and engineers who had no creative outlets for their skills and were eager to turn their attention to product that would be seen the world over, said Newell. "Young Peruvians have grown up on American culture -- MTV, Law and Order, SpongeBob, etc. We found that there were few, if any, of the communication issues that sometimes arise in outsourcing arrangements. The birth of North South Studios was a logical progression."

Can Lima give India a run for its money? Starting with just 4 people in a sublet space, the company has steadily grown to its current size of 50 people in its own headquarters. Specializing today in Internet and other multimedia development, North South Studios has garnered an impressive list of US clients, including MGA Entertainment Leapfrog, K12, Teleflip and Knowledge Adventure.

"We find that our clients value the combination of overseas cost-effectiveness and seasoned American management. In addition, they appreciate that Lima is in a U.S. time zone and business can be conducted during normal US business hours. Finally, these days, being able to produce products in English and Spanish is a real plus for the US market," said Simon.

Today North South Studios is making plans to extend its business from service provider to publishing its own products. "We should really be grateful to the Costa Ricans and the Argentineans," said Newell, "without them, we wouldn't have taken this very positive step."

North South Studios is a full-service media company that provides creative, engineering, design and business services to companies in the toy, education, technology, entertainment and finance industries. North South Studios is a multinational company with offices in Los Angeles, CA and Lima, Peru.

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