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RLJ Entertainment Extends CEO’s Contract

22 Jul, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel, Chris Tribbey

Miguel Penella

CEO Miguel Penella is eligible for $400,000 year-end bonus — in addition to a $500,000 base salary — despite the fact home entertainment distributor posted $3.6 million Q1 loss

RLJ Entertainment July 22 said it has signed an extended employment contract with CEO Miguel Penella that will pay the former Acorn Media executive $500,000 in 2013, with the possibility of an additional $400,000 bonus based on achieving 97% of certain performance objectives, according to a regulatory filing.

Penella, who had been COO, assumed the CEO position in January following the departure of Ted Green, who left the company by mutual agreement.

Acorn, which is a distributor of primarily British TV content, including Agatha Christie titles, was acquired along with Image Entertainment by RLJ Entertainment in 2012 for $127 million.

The unit continues to outperform expectations — driven in part by its Acorn TV digital platform. Overall, RLJ Entertainment reported a first-quarter (ended March 31) net loss of $3.6 million.

Separately, RLJ Entertainment appointed media vet Nina Henderson Moore as president of OnCue, a new digital channel offering urban-themed programming and original content.

OnCue, which is geared toward African-American audiences and will feature original films, documentaries and specials, will launch wide in 2014. It’s already available as a YouTube channel.

Several years ago Moore launched BET Movies and BET Pictures, according to Robert L. Johnson, BET founder and RLJ Entertainment chairman.

“Her programming, production and business experience, skill and her creativity, will be essential to successfully expanding the OnCue Channel by attracting millions of urban subscribers who are interested in targeted online-delivered content that directly appeals to their viewing interests,” Johnson said in a statement.

Moore most recently served as president of Griot Productions, and as EVP for news, public affairs and program acquisitions at BET, and as president and COO of BET Pictures.

“The digital space needs a reliable destination with a distinct urban edge,” Moore said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity with RLJ Entertainment to lead the effort to make OnCue that destination for consumers to enjoy compelling urban content. There is a huge pool of talented and innovative African-Americans in front of and behind the camera that we look forward to working with and showcasing their stories.”

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