July 2009

Tastemakers 2009 Jason Nadler

by Samantha Dunn / produced by Mayer Rus / portrait by Scott Council

Jason Nadler In 1993, young Nadler spent all of his bar mitzvah money on a Macintosh computer and started surfing the newfangled World Wide Web. Turns out it was a savvy investment. Today, as head of UTA Online, Nadler is getting paid for doing the same thing—and getting other people paid, too. He and the other three agents in his division log “a lot” of hours scouring the Web for the homegrown talent who make YouTube hits—like the directors of “Obama Girl” and Lucas Cruikshank, aka Fred (beloved by several million teenage fans of his YouTube series)—then tracking the auteurs for potential commercial deals.

“Numbers are important,” says Nadler. “For a lot of our clients, it is those millions of hits that generate attention, but we also like to see somebody who has just made something that’s phenomenal. Then we get to trumpet it to the world.”

Nadler says he’s drawn to the “high and the low in all things.” Perfect example: He became a fan of the site hotchickswithdouchebags.com (think photos of beautiful women with Cro- Magnon types), which UTA parlayed into the MTV series Is She Really Going Out with Him? “That,” says Nadler, “is sort of the story of how my business works.”