Top 50 Movers & Shakers of Home Entertainment — 201621 Nov, 2016
Home Media Magazine looks at 50 of the home entertainment industry’s most influential people, highlighting the Movers and Shakers who are shaping home entertainment today and setting the foundation for the business of tomorrow.
On the digital frontier, as well as in the disc business, these top executives are building the industry.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, 20TH CENTURY FOX, AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, FOX INNOVATION LAB
Basse oversees 20th Century Fox’s technology strategy and engineering capabilities across home entertainment, theatrical distribution and post-production. An expert in digital distribution platforms, Basse plays an essential role in developing the next generation of entertainment content as Fox leverages new media to create more viewing options for consumers. Basse also maintains Fox’s leadership in the technology community, representing the studio with industry organizations, standards-setting consortiums, as well as legislative and regulatory bodies. Basse currently serves as the president of the UHD Alliance, an inter-industry group charged with fostering the Ultra HD ecosystem and creating high standards for the Ultra HD experience for home entertainment. Under Basse’s leadership and as a founding partner of the UHD Alliance, Fox is leading the charge in developing advanced technologies that give filmmakers a much grander platform to tell their stories in the broadest range of colors and contrast.
VP, WORLDWIDE TELEVISION ACQUISITION, AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Beale oversees acquisition and licensing of TV series for Prime Video globally. He has been crucial to the subscription-streaming service’s expansion of Prime Video, which an eMarketer study noted as the industry’s fastest-growing SVOD service. Key deals championed by Beale this year include a multiyear exclusive agreement with PBS Kids and exclusive agreements for USA’s award-winning series “Mr. Robot” and AMC Networks’ freshman series “Preacher,” among others. “From our award-winning original series to licensed content from industry leaders, we’re committed to making Prime Video the best destination for kids and family programming that will both educate and entertain,” Beale said in July.
CO-CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND PRESIDENT, MOTION PICTURE GROUP, LIONSGATE
Beeks is part of Lionsgate’s senior decision-making team and reports to CEO Jon Feltheimer. Along with co-COO Brian Goldsmith, Beeks is responsible for Lionsgate’s corporate operations and administrative matters and plays a key role in the company’s strategic direction. He is also responsible for the overall operations of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, reporting to Motion Picture Group co-chair Patrick Wachsberger. Beeks joined Artisan Entertainment, Lionsgate’s predecessor company, as president of Home Entertainment in 1998. He was named president of Lionsgate in 2004, shortly after Lionsgate’s acquisition of Artisan, and his title was expanded to include co-COO in 2007.
SVP, PUBLIC AFFAIRS, ENTERTAINMENT MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION
While CEO Mark Fisher gets most of publicity for the Electronic Merchants Association — and he is a great leader — Bersell has been a driving force on the progress the association has made to become an advocate of digital delivery technology standards. He was instrumental in helping to develop metadata standards and in the development of a business model for the recently announced EMA metadata repository. Bersell also continues to be responsible for the association’s government affairs, public relations, member communications and digital supply chain activities.
EVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Bonner leads NBC Universal’s North American television and film digital transactional businesses, including on demand and electronic sellthrough. As a key leader of the company’s overall television and film content distribution strategy, Bonner most recently played a lead role in launching and managing NBC Universal’s Hulu partnership. Previously, as SVP of new media for NBC Universal Cable, Bonner served as the new-media point person for major distributors including DirecTV, EchoStar and iTunes. Prior to the NBC Universal merger, Bonner was VP of business development for Universal Television Group (UTG), responsible for the strategic development of the company’s cable and television assets. He began his career in entertainment in 1993 at Savoy Pictures.
PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Buchi is responsible for the global sales, marketing and distribution of all studio content on Blu-ray, DVD, digital and on demand. An industry veteran, Buchi has been at the forefront of shaping the home entertainment landscape for more than 20 years, developing multifaceted consumer marketing campaigns to grow the sellthrough business from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray Disc to digital. Over the course of his career he has fostered strong relationships with retailers and third-party partners while also creating groundbreaking product offerings that enticed consumers with incremental added value. Buchi joined Paramount in 2006 as SVP of brand marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment. He began his career in the rental marketing department at Buena Vista Home Entertainment. He also oversaw marketing for live-action and animation releases at DreamWorks Home Entertainment and served as SVP of family brand marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
EVP, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND HOME ENTERTAINMENT, HBO
Chang is responsible for the digital and physical transactional businesses globally. She oversees the development, distribution and marketing of an extensive slate of HBO and Cinemax releases, including worldwide record-breaking titles such as “Game of Thrones” and Band of Brothers. HBO titles are distributed in more than 60 countries around the globe, making it one of the top-performing studios in television. In June 2015, Chang took the helm to lead digital distribution, including HBO Now, which launched in 2015 and is distributed across multiple platforms including Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku and Xbox. Chang also serves as CFO on the board of directors of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
EVP, PAY-TELEVISION AND DIGITAL, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT & TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Cohen oversees electronic home video licensing and video-on-demand deals for the studio’s films, securing agreements with North American MVPDs, digital and mobile platforms. He also manages international in-home theatrical licensing, working in conjunction with the company’s global sales teams. Cohen and his team work aggressively to get Disney’s films and TV shows into more digital stores and in 2016 entered into a content licensing agreement with Comcast to make Disney films available on their Xfinity On Demand platform. Additionally, the studio’s exclusive cloud-based digital movie service, Disney Movies Anywhere, continues to experience tremendous growth and now has all major digital retailers on board as participants, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Google Play and Microsoft Movies & TV.
PRESIDENT, DELUXE DELIVERY, DELUXE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES GROUP
Collart heads digital and physical delivery for the 100-year-old Deluxe. His efforts, particularly in OTT, 4K UHD, and high dynamic range (HDR), have impacted consumer adoption of evolving digital entertainment distribution significantly. In 2013, Collart developed and deployed Deluxe’s online infrastructure that is currently being used by clients to support more than 25 million online video users, including the first authenticated OTT services for Starz. Collart has also led teams that worked with Samsung and LG to enable playback of 4K UHD and HDR content on their respective platforms; and enabled Comcast to launch the cable industry’s first 4K UHD services.
SVP, HEAD OF DISTRIBUTION AND PARTNERSHIPS, HULU
Getting Hulu’s subscription streaming service and future online TV service in front of eyeballs requires third-party distribution. Enter Connelly, who has helped meld traditional TV distribution with evolving digital channels, including capturing viewership data for an increasing on-demand consumer. Last year, the former TV Everywhere executive, with ESPN, ABC, Freeform and Disney Channel, brokered a retransmission deal with AT&T, including its burgeoning DirecTV satellite operator. “We strive to create the best possible video experience for customers — offering them the ability to view their favorite content when, where and how they want,” Connolly said.
SVP, INTERNET SOFTWARE AND SERVICES, APPLE
With the Apple App Store synonymous with content-based digital entertainment, Cue is shoulder-deep in the media’s company first original TV series, “Planet of the Apps,” a reality show pitting app developers against each other for mentoring and millions in venture capital funding. Celebrities include Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk and will.i.am, who will serve as mentors, also known as Angel Advisors. Each of these online entrepreneurs will work with a team of experts to help successful contestants prepare their apps for market. The series, which is only working with iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS apps, reportedly is set to stream (possibly broadcast) next year via iTunes and Apple TV, among other distribution channels.
PRESIDENT, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Cunningham since 2014 has led Universal’s global home entertainment operations, including sales, marketing and distribution for theatrical titles from Universal Pictures and Focus Features, NBC Universal’s television properties, and the group’s original home entertainment content production arm, Universal 1440 Entertainment, as well as for select third-party production partners, including Paramount Home Entertainment, Mattel and Open Road Films. He is known for championing the importance of building and maintaining good relationships with retailers and urging his peers not to abandon the physical disc prematurely. Prior to becoming president, Cunningham headed the home entertainment unit’s international business for eight years, where he elevated Universal to market leader in a majority of operational territories and introduced groundbreaking, non-traditional growth initiatives. Before that, he ran the studio’s operations in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the Nordic countries. He began his career in home entertainment in 1994 at Polygram, which Universal acquired in 1999.
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, WORLDWIDE MARKETING, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Daily is the driving force behind Fox’s award-winning global marketing unit and is responsible for the division’s go-to-market strategies in the digital era. Daily’s vision is to evolve with the consumer through disruptive campaigns and new immersive experiences, while preserving the digital ownership model. Daily is constantly advancing digital strategies that leverage new technologies to drive consumer engagement to new heights through transformative extras and filmmaker-driven story extensions. Daily is credited for overseeing some of the most successful campaigns in the division’s history, including the biggest Blu-ray Disc release, Avatar; the biggest TV series, The Bible; and the biggest-selling franchise title of all time, “Star Wars.”
GLOBAL HEAD OF ORIGINAL CONTENT, YOUTUBE
Daniels left MTV last year after heading programming for three years to spearhead original content production at YouTube. Long a conduit for user-generated video, YouTube is attempting to join subscription streaming behemoths Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu in offering subscribers access to original and third-party content. “Susanne is an executive whose incredible instincts have led her to consistently generate pop culture hits that audiences relate to and root for,” said Robert Kyncl, chief business officer at YouTube. “Susanne’s deep expertise in programming will be invaluable to us and our top creators and help them foster even more ambitious projects for YouTube.”
PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Dunn is one of the longest-running presidents in the home entertainment business. Since assuming the presidency in April 2005, he’s consistently pushed for the development of innovative technology and new consumer experiences across all formats and distribution models, and for injecting new value in owning movies and television shows through easy and affordable access across all screens. A first among studios, Fox Innovation Lab is a research and development center with a mission of working five to 10 years out to drive advancements in technology for the benefit of the consumer. The Lab works closely with production, marketing and distribution across all 20th Century Fox divisions as well as key external partners to advance next-generation technologies including virtual, augmented and mixed reality, 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range, and mobile content experiences. In 2015, Fox introduced its first virtual reality proof of concept, Wild: The Experience, and in 2016 debuted its first commercial endeavor, The Martian VR Experience. Dunn currently serves as chair of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s board of directors, and on the Consumer Technology Association’s Board of Industry Leaders.
SVP, HEAD OF CONTENT, HULU
The former president at Warner Horizon Television joined Hulu in 2014 and spearheads the SVOD platform’s content acquisitions and original creations. Notable license pacts this year include streaming rights to the first four seasons of acclaimed terrorist series “Homeland,” and an agreement with ABC that makes full prior seasons of kids titles from Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD available to stream. “‘Homeland’ is the perfect addition to Hulu’s growing library of premium exclusive programming,” Erwich said. “This series has drawn in audiences for years on Showtime and we cannot wait to give even more viewers the chance to discover it on Hulu.”
PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Feldman leads all customer engagement activities across physical and digital home entertainment transactional businesses for Fox, MGM, Relativity and DreamWorks Animation. He also oversees Fox’s international transactional distribution and content licensing structure, comprised of 15 offices globally covering more than 50 countries. Feldman is responsible for the strategic alignment and growth of customers including Amazon, Best Buy, Comcast, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Sky, Target, Walmart (including Vudu) and Xbox, while also driving Fox’s Digital HD, VOD and physical disc businesses. Through partnerships with leading digital platforms around the world, Feldman plays a key role in promoting consumer acceptance by rapidly and seamlessly deploying best-in-class learnings globally.
DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MEDIA ENGINEERING AND PARTNERSHIPS, NETFLIX
An unabashed techie, Fetner is a strong advocate for SMPTE’s (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) “interoperable master format” (IMF), ensuring the standard gains traction as an open source tool. In addition to his work in IMF, Fetner created Netflix’s cloud-based, global review tool. This app allows for the review of Netflix assets by reviewers in local territories globally in more than 20 languages. Fetner also spearheads Netflix’s mastering efforts around UHD and high dynamic range (HDR), which will result in a significant library of next-generation content in 2017.
CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER AND EVP, STRATEGY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT
Gewecke is responsible for driving Warner Bros.’ worldwide digital growth and managing its global business strategy by coordinating the company’s various digital distribution strategies to maximize the value of Warner Bros.’ content across all current and emerging digital exhibition platforms. He also oversees Warner Bros. Technical Operations and Corporate Business Development as well as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Direct-to-Consumer and business development groups. Prior to assuming his current role in May 2013, Gewecke spent five years as president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, helping the division expand its global footprint to make the studio’s movie and television content available for transactional purchase in every major market, through more than 100 digital retail partners. Gewecke joined Warner from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, where as EVP of global digital business he was responsible for worldwide digital business development efforts and oversaw the creation of new digital ventures. Prior to Sony BMG, Gewecke was SVP of business development in the Digital Services Group for Sony Music Entertainment and, before that, publisher of the PC World Online Network at International Data Group, a leading publisher of print and online technology magazines.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, NETFLIX
Hastings’ post-college stint in the Peace Corps paid dividends in 2016. He started the year flipping the switch on a global footprint, with the exception of China, arguably the world’s largest home entertainment market. With Netflix set to work with third parties entering the Chinese market, Hastings in September scored perhaps his biggest coup: Comcast. Hastings convinced erstwhile business rival and Netflix denier Brian Roberts,Comcast chairman, to walk analysts through a demo of the Netflix app on the cabler’s X1 set-top box that affords Comcast subscribers direct access to the SVOD service. “We spent a lot of time talking about how to make this [happen]. And frankly working through this, the two companies have gotten a lot closer,” Roberts said.
Hulu in November inked affiliate agreements with 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co. that will add Fox’s entertainment, news, sports and nonfiction services, as well as Disney/ABC Television and ESPN programming to stream live and on-demand through the Disney/Fox/Comcast/Time Warner-owned subscription streaming service’s pending online TV service, bowing in early 2017. The ambitious service aims to compete in the burgeoning online “skinny bundle” TV market started last year by Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, among others. “This is designed for the people that the marketplace is concerned are falling out of love with pay-TV. We want to have a product for them,” Hopkins told The New York Times.
CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER, NETFLIX
Hunt has been instrumental in the rollout of 4K resolution streaming of select Netflix original programs, including high dynamic range. Hunt said the average TV has a top brightness factor of around 100 “nits,” which is a measure of luminance. An HDR television has around 1,000 “nits.” “I think that’s actually a more important quality improvement to get to the brightness and detail in the picture than the 4K is by itself,” Hunt told London’s The Telegraph.
EVP, GLOBAL RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY, AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, FOX INNOVATION LAB
Guided by deep research and insights, Kaye is charged with giving Fox’s home entertainment division an accurate picture of what consumers want in order to optimize how content providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers engage with connected consumers both today and in the future. Key to this is Kaye’s leadership as part of the Fox Innovation Lab, which is currently focused on three game changers: virtual and augmented Reality, 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range, and mobile delivery of high-quality video content. Other priorities for the lab include anti-piracy platform technologies and next-generation TV and digital platform user interfaces. In addition to overseeing market consumer research, market intelligence and category management across physical and digital businesses for Fox, Kaye routinely works with other 21CF business units to develop new technology strategies.
CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER, YOUTUBE
Kyncl is tasked with monetizing YouTube’s massive eyeballs with appropriate content. In addition to third-party subscription streaming platforms and standalone SVOD service YouTube Red, Kyncl has helped create the so-called “YouTube star.” At CES last January, Kyncl talked about two major success stories that came about because of YouTube: Scooter Braun, the talent manager who discovered both Justin Bieber and Park Jae-sang (better known as Psy) via their YouTube videos, and made them stars; and GoPro, digital action camera manufacturer. With GoPro, YouTube is developing a 360-degree camera system for virtual reality content. Kyncl also revealed that YouTube will soon support video with high dynamic range (HDR) technology. “I think digital video will be the single biggest way people spend their day after sleep and work,” he said.
DIRECTOR, ITUNES VIDEO CONTENT, APPLE
Lippman oversees movie and TV content distribution through iTunes Video, which is a pioneering leader in sales and rental in the digital space. He has overseen dealmaking and day-to-day operations for a number of years. 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.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICA, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Industry vet Longwell assumed his present position in October 2016 and leads UPHE’s physical business, including sales, operations, finance and partnerships, across North America. Longwell has enjoyed a long and esteemed career in home entertainment. He previously worked for UPHE from 1998 to 2012, the last eight as EVP of sales and category management for North America, overseeing the field sales force and the customer interface for the company’s Blu-ray Disc and DVD products. He was also responsible for the development and execution of all sales programs for all classes of trade including mass merchants, video specialty, wholesale clubs, drug and grocery retail channels. Longwell joined Universal in 1998 as SVP of sales and retail marketing. Earlier in his career, he held various senior executive positions of increasing responsibility at MGM Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Video (part of the Walt Disney Co.).
PRESIDENT, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT & TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Marinelli has one of the most unique and multifaceted roles within the industry. She is responsible for distributing both theatrical releases and television programming from global entertainment giant Disney/ABC across a variety of platforms including physical (Blu-ray Disc and DVD), electronic home video license, VOD, SVOD, pay-TV, basic cable, broadcast television, syndication and digital licensing. This year Marinelli strategically led the in-home division into unsurpassed areas of growth. The Walt Disney Studios has experienced immense box office success with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which crossed the $2 billion mark globally. Capitalizing on “Star Wars” and the studio’s extraordinary achievements, Marinelli and her team set new records in the in-home space with both physical and digital sales this year, reversing the industry’s trajectory and leading the resurgence in home entertainment.
SVP, GLOBAL PRODUCT MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT & TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
McLain leads in-home product marketing and marketing strategy across all physical and digital distribution platforms. She also manages in-home release plans, overall product lifecycles, windowing and cross-brand strategies. In addition, McLain spearheads all marketing campaigns in collaboration with the division’s digital retail partners and she directs consumer marketing efforts for Disney Movies Anywhere. McLain and her team contributed to the in-home success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and this year she oversaw global product management for Zootopia, the No. 1 animated title of the year to date. This year she also directed the rebranding of the company’s classic titles from the vault as “The Walt Disney Signature Collection,” including the recent 25th anniversary release of Beauty and the Beast.
VP, ENTERTAINMENT MERCHANDISING, WALMART
Nagelson is responsible for all media categories, including movies, music, games, books and magazines. He has been instrumental in implementing eye-catching displays around key releases. He is a member of Walmart’s entertainment council, which coordinates cross-category execution on tentpole releases. He is currently leading efforts to shape Walmart’s entertainment store of the future, which will reset the department footprint for the next several years. He thinks digitally with a mind toward helping to fuel Vudu and Walmart.com.
PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE TV & DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, LIONSGATE
As head of Lionsgate’s global television distribution operations and architect of many of the company’s digital initiatives, Packer directs Lionsgate’s strategies for capitalizing on evolving distribution opportunities in a fast-changing global marketplace. He oversees the worldwide distribution of Lionsgate’s television roster of nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks, including the groundbreaking hit series “Orange Is the New Black” on Netflix. He has helped spearhead the rollout of the company’s growing suite of subscription video-on-demand platforms featuring branded, targeted content for affinity audiences. Packer is also co-head of the company’s global home entertainment operations with Lionsgate Home Entertainment president Ron Schwartz. He spearheads the licensing of Lionsgate’s feature film slate to television, on-demand and digital platforms around the world. He also leads the ongoing expansion of the company’s partnerships with digital platforms such as Valve. Packer joined Lionsgate as president of worldwide television and digital distribution in February 2011 after 10 years at MGM and 15 at the Walt Disney Co.
VP, DIGITAL VIDEO, AMAZON
Kicking off with the launch of Amazon Channels last December, it’s been a busy year for Paull. He is responsible for global content, product, technology, operations and marketing of Amazon Channels — the e-commerce giant’s over-the-top streaming subscription program that provides Amazon Prime members access (with separate subscription) to more than 75 third-party networks, including Starz, Showtime, Acorn TV, PBS Kids and Dove Channel, among others. “The way people watch TV is changing, and customers need an easier way to subscribe to and enjoy multiple streaming subscriptions,” Paull said.
VP, AMAZON PRIME VIDEO AND AMAZON STUDIOS
Price oversees content licensing and acquisition, as well as all development, production and acquisition of Amazon Original series and movies. Amazon Original Series include Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning “Transparent,” Golden Globe award-winning “Mozart in the Jungle” and Emmy award-winning kid’s series “Tumble Leaf,” among others. Amazon Original Movies include Woody Allen’s Café Society, Love & Friendship from Whit Stillman, and the documentary Gleason, among others. Upcoming titles include Sundance and Telluride Film Festival favorite Manchester by the Sea from Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler (Netflix’s “Bloodline”) and Michelle Williams.
PRESIDENT, WARNER BROS. WORLDWIDE HOME ENTERTAINMENT DISTRIBUTION
Sanders oversees the world’s largest distributor of home entertainment product to consumers. Under his leadership, Warner Bros. has maintained the top market share in home entertainment and paved the way for innovative advances in both packaged media and digital delivery. Sanders joined Warner in 1991 and grew up in the business during the Warren Lieberfarb years, a particularly creative and productive era that saw the development of DVD. He ran Warner’s rental business during the 1990s period of consolidation and copy-depth incentives; he subsequently moved to sellthrough sales just as the floodgates opened and then was sent to London as managing director of the United Kingdom and Ireland divisions. He did so well that he was promoted to head of the entire EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, overseeing Warner’s home video operations in 28 territories. He returned to the United States in 2002 and was named president in October 2005. In his current post, which he assumed in May 2013, Sanders oversees the global distribution of home entertainment products from Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE). Sanders is also responsible for the studio’s video game publishing business, including global development and distribution. Warner Bros. was the third-largest game publisher in 2015 in the United States. In addition to home entertainment and games, Sanders jointly oversees the company’s expansive international theatrical local-language production business. Warner Bros. is a prolific producer and distributor of non-English films, releasing 60 local-language films this year in territories around the world.
CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, NETFLIX
Sarandos spent another year shaking up the Hollywood status quo. In addition to bowing Netflix original movies Beasts of No Nation, Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, the CCO continued to push for day-and-date streaming and theatrical access. Indeed, in October Netflix signed an agreement with iPic Entertainment, developer of luxury theater chains offering full-service in-seat dining, to screen new-release Netflix movies. The deal covers 10 movies, which will be released in iPic Theaters in Los Angeles and New York, in addition to 13 other locations and select indie theaters.
EVP, MARKETING, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT & TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Sardo has marketing responsibilities for both studio and television content distributed by The Walt Disney Studios and The Disney/ABC Television Group. For the company’s in-home theatrical titles, he oversees creative marketing and creative content, as well as contributing to campaign strategies for all digital titles and digital initiatives. Most notably, over the past year Sardo and his team managed the creation and implementation of all creative advertising and bonus content for the in-home release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and most recently was tasked with marketing the highly anticipated release of Finding Dory across all physical, digital and on-demand platforms. Sardo also oversees all creative and strategic marketing for the company’s syndicated television content and he and his team are responsible for the Disney Movie Rewards Loyalty/CRM Program.
PRESIDENT, HOME ENTERTAINMENT, LIONSGATE
Schwartz runs Lionsgate’s nearly $1 billion-a-year worldwide home entertainment operations. He is responsible for managing one of the most prolific and prestigious home entertainment libraries in the industry, consisting of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles. Schwartz crafts the marketing strategies of Lionsgate’s home entertainment group worldwide, maintaining the company’s integrated focus on digital and physical media as well as planning and executing strategic initiatives to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the global home entertainment marketplace. He oversees all aspects of the home entertainment division, including sales, acquisitions, the DVD production group and all Blu-ray initiatives, in addition to all extensions and renewals of current libraries. Schwartz is also a key member of the team that acquires films, in conjunction with sister company Roadside Attractions, for Lionsgate’s growing specialty theatrical business. Schwartz joined Lionsgate predecessor company Trimark in 1992 and steadily advanced up the ranks; before assuming his present position he was president and GM of Lionsgate Home Entertainment sales and distribution, and before that, EVP and GM of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. He has played a key role in the company’s adoption of new technologies and formats such as Blu-ray Disc and UltraViolet, and establishing Lionsgate as the industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD conversion rates.
MAN JIT SINGH
PRESIDENT, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Just shy of three years on the job, Singh already has been hailed as one of the home entertainment sector’s key visionaries, a strategic thinker who spends much of his time figuring out what’s coming next — with a unique global perspective that comes from a long run as CEO of Multi Screen Media (MSM), the company charged with operating Sony Pictures Television’s TV networks in India. No surprise, then, that under his leadership SPHE has become a leader in innovation and a champion of bridging physical and digital. Singh built Sony’s Indian TV channels into high-performance, high-margin businesses, anticipating and adapting to changing technologies and consumer behaviors. And he’s brought the same change-agent mentality to SPHE. Singh has been the founder and CEO of several startups, including Futurestep.com and Compete Inc. He began his career in general management consulting, holding senior positions at several firms, including The Cast Group and Cresap in Los Angeles.
PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Siskind is responsible for creative advertising, media, publicity, interactive marketing, brand and market research for all of the studio’s home entertainment releases across physical and digital platforms. Previously, Siskind served as president of domestic marketing, overseeing the development and implementation of all marketing and advertising strategies for Paramount Pictures’ domestic theatrical releases. Siskind joined Paramount in 2004 as EVP of worldwide marketing and advertising, helping to craft Paramount’s global marketing efforts in advertising investment strategy, marketing partnerships, cross company synergy, and the management of creative content. Prior to joining Paramount, Siskind served as EVP of media and research at 20th Century Fox, where he created the film division’s interactive department, as well as the first and only studio-based, national media buying operation.
AMY JO SMITH
PRESIDENT, DEG: THE DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Smith serves as president of leading trade group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, which advocates and promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels supporting the movie, television, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. Celebrating her 20th anniversary with the DEG, Smith has led the industry-funded group’s efforts to enhance and promote home entertainment during its evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and digital. The DEG is firmly established as the industry’s leading authority on home entertainment trends, sales and developments, working to promote such recent initiatives as Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and high-resolution audio.
After a stint as CFO of corporate parent Outerwall, Smith has been named the new CEO of Redbox, following private equity firm Apollo Global Management’s $1.6 billion purchase of Outerwall. Smith succeeded former Warner Bros. Home Entertainment executive Mark Horak, who departed the kiosk vendor in late 2015. While Redbox goes private, Smith has a mandate to sustain the company’s No. 1 status in the streaming-challenged packaged-media rental market. After joining the company in 2009 as SVP of finance, Smith played an integral role in negotiating street-date access to new releases from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “We believe there are many attractive opportunities for us to build on the Redbox brand, [while] enhancing our already strong relationships with studio and retail partners,” Smith said in September.
GM, MOVIES, PAY-PER-VIEW AND COMMERCE, COMCAST
Spinosa oversees all parts of Comcast’s transactional business, including electronic sellthrough, transactional VOD, PPV, SVOD and other e-commerce initiatives. He oversaw the launch of EST in 2013, leading to Comcast becoming one of the largest EST retailers in pay-TV. Under his leadership, Comcast has maintained its position as top renter of digital movies despite extensive competition from third-party OTT and SVOD providers. Working closely with the cabler’s content acquisition team, Spinosa has also driven innovative partnerships with major and indie studios, as well as the Academy Awards. Any enhancements to the home entertainment movie experience at Comcast go through Spinosa.
EVP, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Spivak oversees worldwide distribution of the company’s film and television properties across all transactional digital channels, as well as its overall North American business, spanning both digital and physical channels. Spivak also oversees SPHE’s digital strategy group, driving efforts to explore emerging distribution models, such as SPHE’s recently launched 4K streaming service, ULTRA. He assumed his present position in July 2012 after serving as SVP and GM of worldwide digital distribution. Spivak has overseen tremendous growth in Sony’s digital transactional business, forging strong relationships with customers and working with them to reach consumers. Spivak joined Sony as SVP of strategic development. Previously, he spent eight years at MGM Home Entertainment working in both Los Angeles and London leading that studio’s early digital distribution efforts.
EVP AND GM, VIDEO AND ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, COMCAST
Strauss has a mandate to expand penetration of the broadband-based X1 set-top box among Comcast Cable’s 22.2 million video subscribers. The next-generation set-top has been installed in 45% of subscriber homes. One way to do that is TV Everywhere, the on-demand platform aimed at competing against online TV services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and Pending DirecTV Now. More than 40% of Comcast’s double-play customers use TV Everywhere every month. The cabler is working with Adobe to create a universal authentication process to ease the process. “Outside of the home, single sign-on will prompt customers only once to provide their credentials on a device and sign them in to all MVPD and programmer apps and websites to which they are entitled,” Strauss wrote in a recent blog.
VP AND GM, VUDU, AND VIDEO GAMES AND MEDIA, WALMART.COM
Verba helped launch “Vudu Movies on Us,” an ad-supported video-on-demand service that enables users to watch titles in 1080p resolution without paying for or renting them. All titles stream with Dolby Digital sound when available, and on Android and iOS devices, Internet-enabled TV and Blu-ray Disc players, PlayStation, and streaming devices such as Roku and Google Chromecast. The online platform has long marketed transactional VOD and digital sellthrough movies, the former from 99 cents to $5.99. “Vudu is always looking for new ways for customers to save money, and nothing is more affordable than free,” Verba said.
EVP AND PRESIDENT OF PRODUCT AND NEW BUSINESS INNOVATION, VERIZON
Mention dotcom pioneer Yahoo and most observers would mention CEO Marissa Mayer. So when Verizon in July announced it would acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion, attention turned to Walden, who is tasked with integrating the company. But Yahoo is just one piece of Verizon’s burgeoning $5 billion media business. The executive, who is spearheading rollout of go90, a free app targeting millennial mobile consumers with short-form video content, news and information, in April led Verizon to acquire 24.5% of AwesomenessTV, the multiplatform media company majority owned (51%) by DreamWorks Animation. AwesomenessTV created shows “Guidance” and “Top Five Live” for go90. “That’s why we want to be in the AwesomenessTV business,” said Walden.
Few people would appear to be a more qualified a “mover & shaker” than Wojcicki. In 1998 she rented her Mountain View, Calif., garage and three bedrooms to Larry Page and Sergey Brin to start Google. But more than landlord to the search engine entrepreneurs, Wojcicki reportedly spearheaded Google’s advertising business model, and in 2006, pushed for the acquisition of YouTube, which she now heads. She is looking to transition YouTube and its largely profitless 1 billion users beyond user-generated video. In addition to establishing platforms enabling third-party videographers to monetize content via free registered subscribers, Wojcicki last year bowed YouTube Red, a $10 monthly subscription streaming video and music service.
SENIOR EVP, WORLDWIDE MARKETING, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Wong oversees global marketing efforts, including brand marketing, strategic partnerships, creative advertising, digital media and publicity for the division’s wide range of products, including Sony Pictures Entertainment theatrical labels, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Television, catalog and titles from third-party distribution partners worldwide. A Sony veteran who has served under three presidents, Wong is a consumer-focused marketer always on the lookout for new opportunities for growth. She is credited with the successful deployment of different windowing strategies for digital purchases (including early electronic sellthrough) and the marketing efforts behind the studio’s push for everything from UltraViolet to VOD. Prior to joining Sony in 1991, Wong spent three years with advertising agency Young & Rubicom. At Sony she was intimately involved in the launch of DVD and then Blu-ray Disc and has more recently taken on a leadership role in digital delivery and the mobile market.
PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAS, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Wuthrich has oversight of the domestic physical and digital distribution of home entertainment properties for Warner Bros., including video games. He is a seasoned executive known for operational savvy and marketing smarts. Wuthrich joined Warner Home Video in 1998 as director of marketing and later served as VP of marketing, theatrical new release, managing the release of more than 100 titles from film to DVD. Wuthrich assumed his present position in October 2013, after four years as president of International, a position in which he worked on Warner’s push to become the first studio to offer its films on demand in China. Before that, he served as SVP of digital distribution, and before that, SVP of electronic sellthrough and interactive marketing, where he was responsible for developing the market for digitally distributed entertainment product on a worldwide basis. Wuthrich has played a key role in forging strong alliances with Apple, Amazon, Sony and Microsoft, and arranging deals with numerous vendors for the licensing of Warner Bros’ content for download.
Yanover envisions Fandango doing more than selling movie tickets. Earlier this year, Fandango acquired M-Go, the former Technicolor and Dream- Works Animation transactional VOD joint venture, and rebranded it FandangoNow. Coupled with Flixster.com and ratings service Rotten Tomatoes, FandangoNow offers access to more than 30,000 movies and TV shows, many in 4K UHD and watchable via Roku streaming media devices and TVs. The platform also enables access to UltraViolet movies stored in the cloud. “The launch of FandangoNow is a huge milestone as we aim to deliver the best movie experience anytime and anywhere, across the total movie lifecycle,” Yanover said.
CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, AT&T
York is spearheading the rollout of DirecTV Now, the pending standalone $35 subscription-based online TV service with 100 channels corporate parent AT&T envisions competing against Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Charter Spectrum TV Plus and linear pay-TV. York recently extended a long-term deal with NBC Universal enabling DirecTV to broadcast select sporting events in 4K Ultra HD resolution. The sat-caster is delivering Notre Dame football games in 4K UHD under the agreement. And earlier this month, York signed Starz to DirecTV Now. “With the addition of Starz and Starz Encore, we are continuing to build a robust streaming platform,” he said.
UP & COMERS
We’ve acknowledged a select group of Up and Comers who are the leaders of the future, in our industry.
SVP, MARKET INTELLIGENCE AND PLANNING, PARAMOUNT HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Jeremy Enos has been helping to refine the division’s market analysis for more than 10 years. His exceptional grasp of the home entertainment landscape coupled with his gift for data analysis have helped Paramount navigate the ever-changing industry and maximize revenue across multiple formats.
SVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Hayes leads licensing, sales, production, acquisitions and daily operational legal matters, including marketing and distribution of the studio’s movies, TV shows and video games in physical and digital formats on a worldwide basis. She has participated in the development of the studio’s business models and licensing for the digital distribution of content across all platforms, and is involved in new technology and copy-protection strategies.
SVP, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT AND GLOBAL PRODUCTION AND OPERATIONS, HBO
Haynes has end-to-end accountability for the U.S. Home Entertainment business. Since 2013, Brandt has been responsible for developing distribution and marketing strategies to maximize long-term profitability for HBO’s digital and DVD and Blu-ray offerings in the United States. In 2015, he added oversight of the global production and operations.
VP, PRODUCTION, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTIONS, HBO
Kilkelly is the head of production for HBO Home Entertainment. Since joining HBO, he has managed the production of HBO’s DVD and Blu-ray products, ensuring that the video experience strives to be the best in the industry. As the media landscape has evolved, Patrick has ensured that HBO’s products and processes have adapted alongside these changes. In 2013, he added oversight of HBO’s EST and TVOD business. In this capacity, he manages internal delivery workflows across numerous release windows, languages and territories. In addition to partnering with internal HBO teams, Patrick is on the DEG’s Digital Supply Chain committee, which has the mission to establish new industry standards for avails communications and digital fulfillment.
SVP, MARKETING AND ACQUISITIONS, PARAMOUNT HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Syrinthia Studer has been spearheading the division’s acquisitions over the past three years. Her work procuring films for worldwide distribution across multiple platforms has created a new model for both filmmakers and the home entertainment industry, while augmenting Paramount’s home entertainment pipeline and generating ancillary revenue.