Sanjay Sharma is the founder and CEO of Marginal Mediaworks. MARGINAL is a premium content studio focused on popular storytelling genres from outsider voices, across all formats – film, television, animation, interactive series and premium podcasts.
The company’s first film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, opened the Austin Film Festival and won the Audience Award at Outfest 2020. The company’s second film is in post production and its third completed photography in September 2020 despite Covid, with Blumhouse and Amazon. Marginal has feature films set up across studios and streamers, a fast-growing animation slate (including a series announced with Quavo and Quality Control), and is also in pre-production on its first premium, scripted podcast.
Sharma began his career as an intellectual property, technology transactions and entertainment lawyer at Warner Bros. He left the law and the film business in favor of technology startups, joining advertising high flyer Spot Runner (Index Ventures, Battery Ventures, WPP, IPG, CBS, Tudor Capital) as an early employee. Sharma then helped start and lead Machinima, the first YouTube MCN, backed by Redpoint Ventures, The Raine Group, Google Capital and Warner Bros., the latter of which acquired the firm in 2016. Prior to Marginal, he was the Chief Executive and co-founder of ALL DEF Media, a leading digital media brand in hip hop and urban content, where he drew the support of a broad range of investors including Greycroft Partners, WPP, Advancit Capital, Bryant Stibel, Andreessen Horowitz and Universal Music Group.
Sharma has spent his career at the intersection of media and technology, and currently is an advisor or board member to a wide range of entertainment and technology companies including Mars Reel, Skybound Entertainment, EmoJam, D36, Knowable, Culture Genesis and HEIR, through his advisory and investment firm, Short Message Service. He is the Chairman of the Board of CAPE, the Coalition of Asian American & Pacific Islanders in Entertainment; a founding board member of Gold House; has been an Adjunct Professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism; and speaks widely, from Cannes to the United States Congress, on new and traditional media, with a particular emphasis on the importance of diversity and representation in the content industries.
Sharma was born in India and immigrated to the United States as a child. He was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Columbia University, where he studied film and history, and the Stanford Law School, after which he clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.