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Digital Drivers 2017: Retail/Technology/Other

Amazon

Richard Au, Director, Content Acquisition, Amazon Studios
Au leads the U.S. content acquisition team for Amazon Channels. Launched in 2015, Amazon Channels is an OTT platform that provides Amazon Prime subscribers with access to video channels, including Showtime and Starz, without a cable subscription on the Amazon Video platform. Au previously led the worldwide business development team for Kindle-supporting devices and the Kindle reading app, and was on the corporate strategic business development team focused on digital media.

Roy Price, VP, Amazon Studios
Price oversees Prime Video including content licensing and acquisition, as well as all development, production and acquisition of Amazon Original Series and Movies such as Golden Globe award-winning and Academy Award winning film Manchester by the Sea and Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning series “Transparent.” Top-rated original series include “The Man in the High Castle” and “The Grand Tour,” Amazon’s rookie motoring series featuring the original cast of BBC’s “Top Gear.”
Since joining Amazon in 2004, Roy has worked with the video team, where he oversaw the launch of Amazon’s digital video store, integrations with TV-connected devices and video streaming with cloud storage.

Brad Beale, VP, Content Acquisition
Beale oversees acquisition and licensing of TV series for Prime Video worldwide. He is in charge of procuring content from networks such as CBS, NBC, HBO and PBS, among others. Before he joined Amazon in 2012, he served as VP of business development for Peel Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup focusing on mobile applications for content discovery and device control.

Jason Ropell, Worldwide Head of Motion Pictures
Ropell oversees all development, production, distribution and marketing of Amazon Studios original films, as well as all acquisitions and licensing of films for Prime Video worldwide. Ropell joined Amazon in 2012 as head of international content, overseeing video platforms in Europe and Japan.

Justyn Egert, Head of Digital Video Store, Amazon Instant Video
A studio source characterized Egert as open-minded to pursuing new ideas and actively campaigning for Amazon resources to support them. He is aggressive in his pursuit to achieve market leadership and delivers on his commitments. His candid, consistent and straightforward approach accelerates decision-making. He has built a solid team and empowers them to make decisions. Amazon Digital Video store is on a great course for the future under his leadership.
Egert has been with Amazon since 2001 and previously headed the print-on-demand service in the United Kingdom, launch of the Kindle tablet, and was in charge of digital video vendor relations. He is a member of the board of directors of Entertainment Merchants Association.


Apple

Eddy Cue, SVP, Internet Software and Services
Cue oversees Apple’s industry-leading content stores, including the iTunes Store and Apple Music, as well as Apple Pay, Siri, Maps, iAd, Apple’s innovative iCloud services, and Apple’s productivity and creativity apps. Cue’s team has an excellent track record of building and strengthening online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of Apple’s customers.

Josh Lippman, Director, iTunes Video Content
Lippman oversees dealmaking and day-to-day operations. His innovations include melding technology with distribution and access. Characterized as encouraging TV and movie content providers to “skate where the puck will be,” Lippman’s initiatives include easier access to previously purchased content, and implementation of a new app for accessing TV shows and movies from multiple Apple TV, iPhone and iPad apps.

Matt Dentler, Indie Film Partner Manager
As former head of the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and an executive with Cinetic Rights Management’s VOD service FilmBuff, Dentler helps iTunes expand its movie prowess.


CBS All Access

Jeff Grossman SVP, Digital Content and Product Strategy, CBS Digital Entertainment & CBS Interactive
Grossman oversees original content for CBS Digital Entertainment, including original series for the CBS All Access subscription service, and he works closely with CBS Television to support and extend CBS shows across platforms. This includes exclusive video and ancillary features for digital distribution.
Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Grossman was VP of enterprise partnerships for NBC Universal, where he developed custom creative solutions for advertisers across the NBC Universal television and interactive portfolio.

Rob Gelick, SVP and GM, Digital Platforms, CBS Digital Entertainment & CBS Interactive
Gelick is responsible for developing cohesive CBS Interactive Entertainment experiences across multiple platforms — the Web, mobile, connected devices, social, video and gaming — including CBS.com, the CBS App and CBS All Access.
Gelick’s team also spearheads development and production of original digital content to support the CBS Television Network’s slate of shows. This includes managing and producing original editorial and video for more than 40 shows’ branded pages on CBS.com as well as social accounts.


Comcast

Matthew Strauss, EVP and GM, Video Services
Strauss is the steward of one of the nation’s largest pay-TV distributors of video and entertainment services. His current focus is on innovation, personalization and seamless access to video entertainment across all platforms, including the cable industry’s first cloud-based set-top box, the X1 entertainment operating system; first talking guide; and transactional platform Xfinity On Demand.

Franz Kurath, SVP, Content Acquisition
Kurath leads the execution of new-media and digital content licensing deals for Comcast Cable. He is one of the lead negotiators of the key programming agreements and oversees content acquisition for Comcast’s various consumer services and platforms including Xfinity On Demand, TV Everywhere, the Xfinity Digital Store, and other emerging platforms such as Watchable. Under his leadership, Kurath’s team has executed agreements with a broad array of content providers, including the Hollywood studios; cable and broadcast network groups as well as emerging digital-first players.

Daniel Spinosa, GM, Movies, PPV and Commerce, Video Services
Spinosa is responsible for developing the rental, subscription and transactional content available on all Xfinity TV platforms. He led the launch of the Xfinity Digital Store in 2014, the first pay-TV digital sales platform for new-release movies.

Andy Hunter, VP, Programming, Video Services
Hunter manages editorial and programming across all video platforms and consumer touch points, including Xfinity On Demand and the Xfinity TV mobile app and website. Hunter’s team works closely with content partners to bring their programming to as many platforms as possible and help Xfinity TV customers find and discover content available to them as part of their subscription.


comScore

Chris Roberts, SVP, Sales, On Demand Everywhere
With more than 25 years in the home entertainment industry, Roberts continues to be on the cutting edge of home entertainment and media measurement. In 2013 he created the industry’s first digital transparency service for movies and TV under Rentrak, which merged with comScore in 2016. He continues to expand its scope and coverage for major studios, networks and independent distributors as OTT distribution grows.
 He is a member of the Entertainment Merchants Association’s Digital Council Steering Committee.

Vince Muscarella, VP, Studio Digital Services
Muscarella draws from more than 15 years of digital, VOD and home entertainment industry knowledge and experience, including business development for all digital transactional and ad-supported accounts for Alchemy (formerly Millennium). He has logged more than five years helping his research team grow its digital and VOD media measurement services, including its Digital Download Essentials Industry service.


Crackle

Eric Berger, EVP, Digital Networks, Sony Pictures Television; GM, Crackle
Berger oversees Crackle’s programming, marketing, distribution, product, video operations and engineering, as well as ad sales for Crackle and PlayStation. Berger is also responsible for the development, production and distribution of original features and series created for Crackle.
Under Berger’s direction, Crackle has become a leading ad-supported over-the-top video network with more than 120 episodes of original programming spearheaded over the past two years.
Berger also manages mobile games and apps based on television properties and, in conjunction with the general managers, the digital presence of the company’s channels around the world. The studio’s channels, including AXN, SET and Animax, reach more than 980 million cumulative households worldwide and are supported by a digital presence that includes more than 100 websites, second-screen applications and participation TV. Additionally, Berger manages all ad-supported digital businesses and partnerships with companies such as YouTube and Hulu.

René Santaella, SVP, Global Ad Strategy and Operations, Sony Pictures Television Digital Networks
Santaella is responsible for leading global advertising monetization strategy and operations for Sony’s connected services and devices in and out of the home.  In this role, Santaella leads Sony Pictures Television Digital Networks’ global programmatic ad platform and audience measurement initiatives; and works closely with business groups and regions across Sony to grow ad revenue. He additionally supports the Sony Pictures Television digital networks direct sales team for Crackle and PlayStation advertising by overseeing ad solutions, ad operations, yield management and sales marketing in the U.S. market. 

Gulliver Smithers, SVP, Product & Technology, Crackle & Sony Pictures Television Digital Networks
Smithers is responsible for product and technology development. After graduating with a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh, Gulliver’s tech career started at the BBC in London. Later, as director of on-demand at ITV, Gulliver oversaw the build and multi-platform rollout of ITV Player, the U.K.’s flagship ad-supported VOD product. This was followed by a CTO role at a successful startup and then VP of product for BBC Worldwide, where he developed and rolled out the BBC’s global portfolio of digital products. 

Rebecca Agbe-Davies, VP, Programming
Agbe-Davies oversees program planning, current series, licensing partnerships, and content performance analytics. Having grown and engaged audiences for both startups and established media conglomerates, Agbe-Davies’ expertise now sits squarely at the intersection of video, technology and business.


DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Amy Jo Smith, President, DEG
Smith directs the leading trade group for the home entertainment industry that advocates and promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels supporting the movie, television, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. Since 1997, Smith has led the industry-funded group’s efforts to enhance and promote home entertainment during its wholesale evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age. Under Smith’s leadership the DEG is credited with helping to make DVD the fastest-growing consumer electronics product in industry history. Currently, DEG works to promote recent digital initiatives such as Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and high-resolution audio.


Entertainment Merchants Association

Mark Fisher, President and CEO
After nearly 30 years of retailing experience at the store level, field level and corporate level, and 13 years on the executive team of the EMA, Fisher now leads the organization. Over the years, Fisher has been responsible for expanding the scope of the EMA’s membership, for identifying and supporting the needs of its evolving membership and for EMA’s overall strategic planning and direction. Under his leadership, the EMA has expanded conferences and membership in the digital arena.

Sean Bersell, SVP, Public Affairs
Bersell has almost 30 years of government affairs experience at the federal, state and local levels. He is responsible for the association’s government affairs, public relations, member communications and digital supply chain activities.

Steven Apple, Architect, EMA Digital Community & Sales
Apple has worked in strategic business development, conceiving and executing marketing strategies for small and Fortune 500 companies for nearly two decades. He has been associated with the Entertainment Merchants Association since 2011. As architect of EMA Digital Community & Sales, Apple is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with companies involved in digital delivery of content.


Fandango

Paul Yanover, President
Yanover leads Fandango’s overall businesses, which include online movie ticketing, content and marketing for exhibitors, studios and advertisers. He’s also in charge of FandangoNow, the company’s new transactional VOD and digital sellthrough platform (formerly M-Go). As part of
FandangoNow, Yanover is in charge of expanding the platform’s original and exclusive content across mobile, TV and the Web.

Cameron Douglas, VP, Content
Douglas is the head of content and content marketing for FandangoNow and served in a similar role with its predecessor, M-Go. In that capacity, he is responsible for creating and developing key relationships with content providers to monetize content. Over his career, Douglas worked in home entertainment marketing for Disney, DreamWorks, Fox and Paramount Pictures, and as the senior operations and product manager for Musicland.
Douglas is a member of the board of directors of EMA and currently serves as its treasurer. He also serves on EMA’s digital retailing council and its digital supply chain committee.


FlixFling

Thomas Ashley, Founder and CEO
Ashley is in charge of differentiating FlixFling from its competitors by offering a cloud-based digital locker system, transactional VOD and subscription streaming. While targeting FlixFling to independent film fans, the service’s app is now featured through Roku, LG, Samsung, Android, Apple iOS and Xbox, among others.
Michael Nagle is CEO of Ashling Digital and co-producer of the docu-series “Pinned” (featuring Veronica Pin Up NY). He’s worked for Bloomberg, Playboy and NatureVision TV. In 2017 he joined Viva’s board of directors and the Social and Interactive Media Consortium (SIMC), where he oversees advertising strategy.


Fullscreen

George Strompolos, CEO/Founder
Prior to starting Fullscreen, Strompolos served as strategic partnerships manager at YouTube and was responsible for establishing distribution channels with new media companies and content producers. In 2007 he co-created the YouTube Partner Program, which provided new monetization opportunities for online content producers. He also led YouTube’s first multimillion-dollar programming fund and spearheaded key initiatives, including Seth MacFarlane’s “Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.”

Andy Forssell, COO
Forssell oversees the day-to-day operations of Fullscreen’s three business divisions, serving creators, brands and consumers. Additionally, Forssell oversees the company’s technology and product development organizations.
In 2013, Forssell became acting CEO at Hulu when founder/CEO Jason Kilar left the company. Forssell, who helped launch Hulu, departed when Fox executive Mike Hopkins assumed the CEO position.

Ezra Cooperstein, President
Since the company’s launch in November 2011, Cooperstein has overseen company growth from five employees to more than 250 team members. Under his direction, Fullscreen has developed tools and services that optimize distribution and monetization for creators and brands, including “creator platform,” “channel plus” and “influencer plus,” among others.

Alan Beard, CMO
Beard is co-founder of social media creative studio McBeard, and CMO of Fullscreen Media. McBeard was acquired by Fullscreen in 2015. In his role as CMO, Beard oversees marketing strategy and operations across the business serving creators, brands and consumers.


Google

Jonathan Zepp, Head of North American Entertainment, News and Sports Partnerships for Youtube; Head of Worldwide Movies & TV Partnerships for Google Play
Zepp oversees entertainment, sports, news, enterprise and multicultural content partnerships for YouTube in North America, and the Google Play movie and TV content partnerships team globally. Zepp and his teams are focused on growing Google’s transactional EST/VOD digital video service available on Google Play and YouTube, and are responsible for business relationships with more than 600 partners.
Since 2011, Zepp has established and driven complex video partnerships relating to key Google products. This includes expanding Google Play’s presence to more than 100 countries, launching YouTube Red in the U.S. in 2015, and partnering with Disney Movies Anywhere to enable Google Play to be the first service to offer interoperability with Apple iTunes.
Zepp is also vice chairman of the board of directors of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

Jamie Rosenberg, VP, Digital Content
Rosenberg leads a cross-functional team that includes product development, engineering, content merchandising, business partnerships and operations for Google Play, Google’s digital content store offering apps, games, music, movies and books.

Bill Kotzman, Partner Product Manager, TV/Film, Google Play
Kotzman spearheads development and adoption of standards, specifications and best practices for the digital video supply chain, creating efficiencies that reduce costs and speed content availability for consumers. He has been a key driver in the adoption of the Entertainment Merchants Association’s Avails standard for content availability metadata, which has been widely embraced by content providers and retailers.


Hulu

Mike Hopkins, CEO
Hopkins is overseeing the pending launch of Hulu’s online TV service, which will compete against Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, among others. In the previous year, Hopkins spearheaded Hulu’s “no commercials” sub option, making the streaming service the only one to offer both limited commercials and no-commercials plans.

Tim Connolly, SVP, Head of Distribution
Connolly signed a distribution deal with Showtime OTT making Hulu the first-ever streaming service to offer a premium add-on available through its platform. He also inked deals with seven multichannel video program distributors, including Cablevision and American Express, to distribute Hulu directly via TiVo set-top boxes.

Craig Erwich, SVP, Head of Content
Erwich has spearheaded Hulu’s aggressive content license deals this past year, including originals and acquisitions. He led the originals team to greenlight a slate of Hulu Originals, including “11.22.63,” “The Path” and “Casual,” the latter earning Hulu’s first Golden Globe nomination. Erwich helped Hulu acquire SVOD rights to “Seinfeld,” “Empire,” “Blindspot,” “Fargo,” “Broad City” and “UnReal,” and signed content deals with major TV brands, including AMC, FX and Turner.

Tian Lim, CTO

Lim guides Hulu’s foray into virtual-reality programming. He also worked on the Showtime OTT deal, in addition to commercial-free subscription options.


Microsoft

Javier Larrinaga, Group Manager, Microsoft Movies & TV Service
Larrinaga supervises Microsoft’s movies and TV program digital sales and transactional VOD service, from ingestion and processing to delivery. He manages a team of program managers, software engineers, service software engineers and business operations.
Originally from Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, Larrinaga studied sound and video engineering before joining Microsoft in 1993, where he had different managerial roles in Windows, Tools and Office. After exploring different professional ventures including his own startup, VideoActiva, Larrinaga joined Microsoft media services in 2013.


Netflix

Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO
Since co-founding Netflix’s by-mail disc rental service
in 1997, Hastings has helped pioneer the subscription streaming video business model. In 2002 he took the company public, and in 2003 it surpassed 1 million disc subs. Today it has almost 100 million streaming subs globally in more than 190 countries.
“Everybody watches TV. And nearly everybody has the Internet, so I don’t see anything that’s going to stop Netflix from getting to most people in the United States and then eventually, hopefully, most people around the world,” Hastings said on an April 17 fiscal webcast.

Ted Sarandos, CCO
Sarandos has championed Netflix original movies, including Beasts of No Nation, Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, among others. Sarandos, who oversees the Beverly Hills, Calif., office, contends original documentaries are just as important.
“The role of the filmmaker, particularly in the doc space, has never been more important to talk truth to power,” Sarandos said at Sundance 2017. “And what I can do is give them a platform for that.”

Gregory Peters, Chief Product Officer
Peters in July is set to replace Neil Hunt as chief product officer. Peters has been responsible for global partnerships with consumer electronics companies, Internet service providers and multichannel video programming distributors. Most recently, Peters was instrumental guiding Netflix’s foray into Japan, working from an office in Tokyo since 2015.

 


PlayStation Video

Suyin Lim, Global Content Acquisitions
Lim is charged with managing relationships and negotiating content deals with movie studios, TV networks and other content providers, and is also responsible for content operations. Lim previously was responsible for content acquisition at M-Go (now part of Fandango), worldwide content services for the Rovi Entertainment Store white label service, and for content operations at Sonic Solutions.
Lim is a member of the board of directors of the Entertainment Merchants Association.


Roku

Anthony Wood, Founder and CEO
As the co-creator of the subscription streaming video market with Netflix, Wood has worn many hats since forming Roku. Prior to Roku, he invented the digital video recorder (DVR) and founded ReplayTV, where he served as CEO before the company’s acquisition and subsequent sale to DirecTV.

Chas Smith, GM, OEM
Smith oversees Roku’s OEM business to expand the Roku platform reach beyond the set-top box and into consumer electronics devices. Before Roku, he was GM for Avid Technology’s video division and VP of worldwide sales, marketing and service.

Matthew Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer
Anderson is responsible for retail device sales, global marketing, communications and customer service across the company’s three business units: streaming media players, content and services, and OEM partnerships. Prior to becoming CMO, Anderson was a strategic advisor focusing on corporate strategy and development, including capital raising, and supporting marketing and communications.

Steve Shannon, GM, Content and Services
Shannon is responsible for establishing new content relationships, acquiring entertainment and growing services. Prior to Roku, Shannon held senior executive roles at digital media companies RealD and Gemstar-TV Guide.


Sling TV

Roger Lynch, CEO
In the last year, Lynch expanded Sling TV to include the new multi-stream service called Sling Blue, including content from Fox, NBC, Viacom and more. Through Lynch’s leadership, Sling TV has remained the only live and on-demand OTT service that starts at $20 per month, while also launching more genre-based add-ons, more device support, more features and many more channels across domestic, Latino and International lines of business.

Ben Weinberger, Chief Product Officer
Weinberger spearheads the Sling TV product team, which has been instrumental in expanding Sling TV’s device footprint to more than 15 device platforms, including Apple TV; launching a new user interface across additional platforms; and rolling out Sling TV’s first-ever Cloud DVR.

Sruta Vootukuru, VP, Business Development Operations
Vootukuru oversees customer service, business operations and business development for Sling TV. In the past year, she led new business initiatives and strategic investments, paving the way for Sling TV to continue innovation in the OTT space.

Glenn Eisen, Chief Marketing Officer
Eisen leads all marketing efforts for Sling TV’s domestic and Latino offerings, and led the launch of Sling TV’s first-ever multicultural campaign in 2016, featuring award-winning actor Danny Trejo.


Sony DADC New Media Solutions

Andy Shenkler, Chief Solutions and Technology Officer
Since 2009, Shenkler has been responsible for the design, development and execution of Sony’s worldwide video supply chain services, overseeing all technology and worldwide infrastructure. In addition, Shenkler sets the global operations, technology and business strategy for new-media solutions covering all aspects of the content lifecycle from content creation through direct-to-consumer offerings.


Starz

Jeffrey Hirsch, COO
Hirsch oversees affiliate sales, marketing, programming operations and research, content acquisition, Starz Distribution, as well as technology and product development. Hirsch joined Starz in 2015 and launched the new Starz streaming services and app, which has reached nearly one million subscribers; rebranded the Starz Network; and repositioned the Starz Encore suite of services. Hirsch also integrated music streaming service Spotify into the Starz app, launching the first-ever streaming music integration into the premium video streaming service app.

Scott Barton, SVP, Digital Products
Barton leads the programming and product vision for all on-demand, online, digital and consumer-facing video products and platforms, including the Starz app, Starz On Demand, Starz.com and emerging platforms.

Jason Wyrick, SVP, Digital Platforms
Wyrick oversees a team of developers, UX and application engineers. He is responsible for all technical aspects of externally facing systems including the Starz app, Starz.com and affiliate integrations. Wyrick leads the digital platforms team in development, launch and ongoing management of digital products and services.

Alison Hoffman, CMO
Hoffman spearheads consumer and affiliate marketing for the network, leading all facets of marketing strategy and planning for the brand, the Starz app and original productions, including digital and social marketing, creative strategy and media planning. In 2016, Hoffman and her teams built a master brand strategy for Starz and repositioned the network as a destination for diverse original programming.

David Muehl, Director, Digital Marketing
Muehl leads digital marketing strategy and execution for Starz original programming and the brand. He and his team oversee websites, partnerships, email marketing and asset development spanning photo, video, designed content and social media, including the recent “American Gods” Snapchat sticker activation at SXSW — the first for a U.S. entertainment company.

Keana McGee, Director, Digital Marketing
McGee oversees digital and social media for multiple Starz original series, including “Power.” She sets strategy and builds multi-platform campaigns including award-winning first-to-market executions for social media campaigns.


Verizon

Chip Canter, GM, Digital Entertainment and go90
Canter was hired in 2016 from NBC Universal to jumpstart Verizon’s ambitious digital strategies, including struggling ad-supported mobile streaming app go90. In April Canter inked a license deal for go90 to receive catalog TV series from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
“This is a great opportunity to continue to double down on a genre that’s performed well for go90 and attract users who may be discovering [mobile streaming video] for the first time,” Canter said.


Vubiquity

Darcy Antonellis, CEO
Antonellis continues to guide the global organization in the direction of industry change and evolution. In 2016 she led the company to an unprecedented monthly distribution output of more than 80,000 assets while still forging multiple partnerships and alliances with industry partners. Her passion and perseverance is unparalleled and her knowledge, priceless.

Michele Edelman, EVP, Marketing & Content Strategy
As it relates to the digital media supply chain, Edelman has expertise on both sides of the equation. As a studio executive at Warner Bros., she played a pivotal role in the early days of file-based digital delivery. She now heads Vubiquity’s global licensing business and plays a key strategic role in helping content providers monetize their content to any digital platform.


Vudu

Jeremy Verba, VP, GM
Verba is instrumental in expanding Vudu’s reach, media properties and digital platforms at parent Walmart. As a result of his leadership, Vudu has seen unprecedented growth and new partnerships with multiple studios, offering users new-release movies and TV shows.

Scott Blanksteen, VP, Product and Platform
Blanksteen is the DECE representative for Vudu and Walmart. He is responsible for bringing new services to market, including advanced streaming options such as disc-to-digital, 4K Ultra HD, new audio and video compatibilities, and expanded mobile initiatives

 

 


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