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Top 50 Movers & Shakers of Home Entertainment — 2017

20 Nov, 2017



Home Media Magazine looks at 50 of the home entertainment industry’s most influential people of 2017, 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.

 

 


ADAM ARON

CEO, AMC ENTERTAINMENT
Aron orchestrated one of the biggest strategic moves affecting retail movie sales. AMC Theatres, the nation’s largest theatrical chain with more than 8,000 screens, will begin selling movies — including DVD/Blu-ray — on its website in 2018. The chain will also sell movie-related merchandise in select theaters.
“We have strong studio support to be participants in the significant home entertainment business,” Aron said.


BRAD BEALE

VP OF WORLDWIDE TELEVISION ACQUISITION, AMAZON
With Amazon spending $4.5 billion on video in 2017, Beale has been crucial to the expansion of Prime Video. Overseeing licensing for thousands of TV episodes, Beale inked a multiyear exclusive agreement with PBS Kids and exclusive licensing agreements for USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” and AMC’s “Preacher.”
Most recently, Beale obtained international rights to Emmy winner “This Is Us” and “The Exorcist” — the latter based on the 1973 horror movie classic.


MICHAEL BONNER

EVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Bonner directs the team managing NBC Universal’s North American film and television digital transactional businesses, including electronic sellthrough and on-demand. As a strategic player in the company’s overall film and television content distribution strategy, Bonner most recently played a lead role in developing and launching the industry’s groundbreaking digital film application Movies Anywhere, and continues to manage 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, responsible for the strategic development of the company’s cable and television assets.


BOB BUCHI

PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Buchi is in charge of the global sales, marketing and distribution of all studio content on Blu-ray, DVD, digital and on-demand.
Buchi has been a leader in the home entertainment industry for more than 20 years, developing multi-faceted consumer marketing campaigns to grow the sellthrough business from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray to digital. He has created strong relationships with retailers and third-party partners while also designing groundbreaking product offerings that have 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.
Buchi holds a B.A. in economics from Occidental College and earned his M.B.A. at UCLA.


SOFIA CHANG

EVP, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND HOME ENTERTAINMENT, HBO
Chang is responsible for the digital and physical transactional businesses globally, in addition to leading HBO’s digital distribution business. With the transactional business, she oversees the development, distribution and marketing of an extensive slate of HBO and Cinemax releases. 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. In the past year, HBO has expanded its channel distribution on digital platforms with launches on Sony Vue, Amazon Channels and Hulu.


DAN COHEN

PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE TELEVISION LICENSING, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Cohen is responsible for the global licensing and distribution of all Paramount films, TV series and other content across multiple platforms including mobile, pay-television, broadcast, cable and SVOD, as well as emerging digital arenas. He leads the television licensing teams in setting strategy and guiding negotiations across the global marketplace and finding strategic distribution opportunities.
Prior to joining Paramount, Cohen spent 20 years at Disney/ABC, where he served as EVP of pay-television and digital sales for home entertainment and television distribution for The Walt Disney Studios. In this role he distributed content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC and Disney Channel to businesses around the globe. Cohen was also responsible for securing two of the studio’s most significant pay television deals in history —Starz in 1999 and Netflix in 2012 — negotiating exclusive, multiyear deals and licensing agreements.


TODD COLLART

PRESIDENT, DELUXE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES
With technology driving home entertainment, Collart’s efforts, particularly in OTT, 4K Ultra HD and HDR, have impacted consumer adoption significantly. In 2013, Collart developed Deluxe’s online infrastructure currently supporting more than 25 million online video users, including the first authenticated OTT services for Starz. Subsequently, Collart worked with Samsung and LG to enable playback of 4K Ultra HD content on their platforms; and developed workflows that enabled Comcast to launch the cable industry’s first 4K Ultra HD services.


EDDY CUE

SVP, INTERNET SOFTWARE AND SERVICES, APPLE
Hoping to replicate Apple’s digital music/movie legacy, Cue helped convince studios to allow iTunes to market and sell 4K UHD movies (priced at $20) play- able via the updated Apple TV streaming media device. Apple is also upgrading consumer HD content to 4K at no additional charge. Participating studios include Warner, Universal, Paramount, Fox, Sony and Lionsgate.


EDDIE CUNNINGHAM

PRESIDENT, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Cunningham leads 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, Mattel and Open Road Films, among many others. He is also responsible for championing Universal’s successful entrée and continued expansion in content acquisition for the global home entertainment market. Prior to assuming his global responsibilities, Cunningham served as president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, overseeing home entertainment activities across Europe, Asia and Latin America. During that time, he elevated Universal to a market leader in a majority of operational territories and introduced groundbreaking, non-traditional growth initiatives in the international home entertainment sector. Cunningham currently serves on the board of directors of Universal’s joint venture with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in Australia and the Nordics. Additionally, he is a board member of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.


MARY DAILY

PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL THEATRICAL MARKETING AND WORLDWIDE HOME MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
In addition to being responsible for all marketing and advertising strategies for Paramount Pictures’ international theatrical releases, Daily is in charge of shaping the marketing and distribution strategies for existing and emerging transactional platforms, as well as overseeing sales, creative advertising, media, publicity, interac- tive marketing, and brand and market research for all the studio’s home entertainment releases across digital and physical platforms.
Daily previously served as president and chief marketing officer for worldwide marketing at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, where she led the studio’s global in-home marketing unit. Daily is credited with overseeing some of the most successful campaigns in the division’s history, including those for the Blu-ray Disc release of Avatar; the TV miniseries The Bible; and the biggest-selling franchise title of all time, “Star Wars.”


CAMERON DOUGLAS

VP, CONTENT, FANDANGONOW
With a background almost exclusively in entertainment and digital content marketing, Douglas is responsible for creating and developing key relationships with premium digital video service FandangoNow’s studio content licensors. FandangoNow content is carried on Roku, Samsung, LG, VIZIO, Chromecast, Xbox, and many other platforms, reaching more than 200 million devices. Douglas has always been on the leading edge of entertainment and technology, from pay cable to VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and transactional VOD, and has strategized and monetized content with leading entertainment companies such as DreamWorks, Paramount, Fox, Disney and Showtime/Viacom. Douglas is a member of the board of directors of the Entertainment Merchants Association and currently serves as its vice-chairman.


CRAIG ERWICH

SVP AND HEAD OF CONTENT, HULU
Erwich inked a multiyear license agreement for all upcoming theatrical films from distributor Neon, streaming rights to movies released by Annapurna Pictures, and Hulu’s first subscription streaming license agreement with Walt Disney Studios for select catalog movies. Erwich also helped facilitate rollout of critical success “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which made Hulu the first SVOD service to win the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.


KEITH FELDMAN

PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE HOME ENTERTAINMENT, 20TH CENTURY FOX
Feldman oversees Fox’s worldwide physical and digital transactional media businesses, where he is responsible for developing go-to-market strategies that will leverage emerging technologies and business models to inspire and engage consumers with high-impact, relevant and creative product offerings. As Fox continues to navigate the rapidly shifting media landscape and evolving consumer habits, Feldman leads home entertainment teams in offices in 16 countries, serving more than 100 countries. He also manages the strategic alignment and business growth of key retail partners, and works with Fox’s home entertainment business partners, including DreamWorks Animation, eOne, EuropaCorp, Lucasfilm, MGM, Pathe and Warner Bros. Feldman previously served as president of worldwide distribution for the home entertainment division, where he helped shape the distribution strategy and marketing footprint for the division, including enhanced formats Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and virtual reality.


MARK FISHER

PRESIDENT AND CEO, ENTERTAINMENT MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION
Fisher is one of the home entertainment industry’s foremost cheerleaders. He has been responsible for expanding the scope of the EMA’s membership, for identifying and supporting membership needs and for the trade group’s overall strategic planning and direction. Under his leadership, the EMA has expanded conferences and digital initiatives. The annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit has grown into the premier business-to-business event for the industry, attracting approximately 1,000 attendees from virtually all of the industry’s major companies. In addition to launching Digital Media Pipeline conferences, Fisher and the EMA have worked on developing a more efficient digital supply chain and an online video repository for the industry.


VICKY FREE

SVP, MARKETING, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Free has marketing responsibilities for both studio and television content distributed by The Walt Disney Studios and The Disney/ABC Television Group. She oversees in-home creative strategy, digital marketing and customer relationship management to drive sales, ownership and consumption of the company’s theatrical releases. This includes the creation and implementation of all creative advertising and bonus materials, as well as oversight of the Disney Movie Rewards program. Free serves as a member of the Movies Anywhere marketing council and works in partnership with the other four studios to leverage MA as the premium platform for digital movie customers. In addition, Free leads the overall marketing strategy and execution for the company’s first-run and off-network syndicated television content in the United States and Canada, which includes all trade and consumer campaigns, creative assets, digital marketing, affiliate relations, and communications. Next up for Free and her team are the highly anticipated in-home releases of Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok and Pixar’s Coco.


RON GELLER

VP, WORLDWIDE CONTENT RELATIONS, DOLBY LABORATORIES
Geller is responsible for empowering the content community with Dolby technology. He has spearheaded collaborations with every Hollywood studio involving traditional Dolby offerings, such as Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD, as well as next-generation products, such as Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, which have become mainstays in the industry’s rollout of 4K Ultra HD. Under Geller’s leadership, studios have created more than 200 titles in Dolby Atmos and more than 200 titles in Dolby Vision, with distribution on both digital and physical platforms. Most recently, Geller facilitated the creation of an ecosystem designed to roll out Dolby Vision HDR technology on UHD Blu-ray discs, resulting in 20 titles from five studios released or committed within the first six months. A 25-year media industry veteran, Geller began his career in satellite television, followed by 10 years at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles and London, as well as several years at Ascent Media and Deluxe. He is a voting member of BAFTA and serves on the boards of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and the Advanced Imaging Society.


THOMAS GEWECKE

CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER AND EVP, STRATEGY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT
Gewecke is in charge of driving Warner Bros.’ worldwide digital growth and managing its global business strategy, as well as coordinating the company’s various digital distribution strategies. 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 taking on his current position in 2013, Gewecke worked 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 he was responsible for worldwide digital business development efforts and oversaw the creation of new digital ventures. Prior to that, Gewecke was SVP of business development in the digital services group for Sony Music Entertainment.


KARIN GILFORD

GM, MOVIES ANYWHERE, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Gilford oversees all day-to-day operations of Movies Anywhere, the U.S. cloud-based entertainment service that brings the film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop. Movies Anywhere currently features access to a library of more than 7,300 digital movies, along with fresh previews and film extras. Gilford and her cross-functional team brought the website and apps to market in October and she manages product design, product development, engineering and strategic planning. She is also charged with overseeing all consumer-facing marketing, which includes strategy, branding, creative, media planning and integrated promotions.


LINDSEY GREEN

SVP AND GENERAL SALES MANAGER, PAY-TELEVISION AND DIGITAL SALES, DISNEY/ ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Green negotiates in-home distribution agreements across a wide array of media platforms and businesses including electronic home video, video-on- demand, pay-television and subscription video-on-demand. She pursues key licensing agreements for the studio’s films with North American MVPDs and digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, AT&T, Comcast XFinity, Vudu and Google Play. Green and her team also secure digital licensing opportunities for the company’s television assets, with deals currently in place with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, and PlayStation, among many others. Over the past year, Green was heavily involved in the negotiations for Movies Anywhere among its digital retail partners.


REED HASTINGS

CEO, NETFLIX
Declaring sleep to be Netflix’s biggest competitor, Hastings doubled down on the SVOD pioneer’s binge-viewing strategy for original TV series with “binge-racing,” in which subscribers watch an entire series within 24 hours of its release. While Deloitte reports 70% of Americans now watch up to five episodes of a series in one sitting, Netflix disclosed 8.4 million subs binge-race. Hastings, who spearheaded a free streaming deal with T-Mobile, touts binge-watching because it puts subs “in control,” he told an investor group earlier this year.


JULIA HOWE

EVP, CO-HEAD OF MARKETING, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Howe is responsible for shaping the home entertainment division’s go-to-market and consumer engagement strategies worldwide. She brings a mix of strategic brand and operational marketing experience. Utilizing more than 20 years of consumer and brand marketing experience, Howe focuses on keeping ahead of change and continuing to drive transactional home entertainment with creative and breakthrough campaigns for new-release, catalog and TV titles. Howe has been instrumental in growing Fox’s share of the Digital HD business and more recently driving adoption of new formats including 4K Ultra HD and virtual reality. Howe has been a key player on the marketing advisory board for the recently launched Movies Anywhere, a free app that makes digital movie collecting seamless. Howe previously served as SVP of brand marketing, and was responsible for spearheading the global home entertainment release of live-action films such as Deadpool and The Martian.


JASON KWONG

CHIEF STRATEGY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, REDBOX
Redbox’s bread and butter may be packaged-media rentals from kiosks, but once again it is making moves toward digital distribution. The company’s previous digital foray — Redbox Instant by Verizon — shut down in 18 months. The second time around the company has tapped Kwong to drive its digital engine.
Kwong’s first business initiative included offering digital codes to select Disney movies accessible on Redbox’s website and playable on compatible media devices. His most recent gig was SVP of strategy, program planning and acquisitions at Fullscreen Media, a branded $5.99 SVOD service for teens, shuttering next year.


JOSH LIPPMAN

DIRECTOR, ITUNES VIDEO CONTENT, APPLE
Following baby steps in original content creation with “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke,” Apple significantly upped its content war chest to a reported $1 billion. Lippman recently helped Apple secure its first original scripted series, signing Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to two seasons of a new drama set around the world of morning TV. Separately, Apple plans a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” 1980s anthology series.


DICK LONGWELL

MANAGING DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICA, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Longwell leads UPHE’s physical business, including sales, operations, finance and partnerships, across North America. The industry veteran has enjoyed a long and esteemed career in home entertainment. Having previously served within UPHE for 14 years, he left the company in 2012 as EVP of sales and category management for North America, before rejoining the company in October 2016 in his current role. As EVP, he oversaw the field sales force across North America and was responsible for the customer interface for the company’s Blu-ray and DVD products. He was also responsible for the development and execution of all sales programs for all classes of trade. In his long and distinguished career in the industry, Longwell has held various positions at MGM Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Video.


DAN MACKECHNIE

EVP, NORTH AMERICA DISTRIBUTION, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Mackechnie leads all customer-facing teams for the U.S. disc business. He also oversees the Canadian operation, including 20th Century Fox’s joint venture with eOne. In this role, Mackechnie leverages data-driven consumer insights to push the disc and rental business forward. He and his team develop go-to-market strategies that leverage emerging business models, enhanced formats including Digital HD and 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range. Over the past year, Mackechnie has focused on tailored product offerings for key retailers based on the evolving demands of their consumer bases. Mackechnie continues to work closely with Fox’s retail partners to test and implement creative ways to display product in stores and bring excitement to the category. Mackechnie previously led the division’s global finance strategy.


JANICE MARINELLI

PRESIDENT, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND 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 linear and digital platforms, including physical (Blu-ray/DVD), electronic home video license, video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand, pay-TV, basic cable, broadcast TV and syndication. This year Marinelli strategically led the in-home division into unrivaled areas of growth by delivering the strongest slate of collectible films, capitalizing on the studio’s remarkable box office success. The division is breaking and setting new records in both physical and digital sales with bestselling tentpoles Moana, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In addition, Marinelli spearheaded last month’s unprecedented multi-studio launch of Movies Anywhere, a free app and website that allows consumers to access their eligible digital movies in one place and sync their libraries across connected retailer accounts. Marinelli and her team brokered deals with Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. to join The Walt Disney Studios in the initiative. She also led successful negotiations with four major digital retailers — Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu — to participate in the launch of the cloud-based service on nine different platforms.


SUSAN MCLAIN

SVP, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
McLain leads product management and distribution strategy across all in- home platforms, which includes oversight of in-home release plans, overall product lifecycle windowing, and cross-brand strategies for Disney/ABC’s portfolio of theatrical titles and television programming. She and her team determine release dates, pricing and product SKUs, and she manages the division’s new-release and catalog plans among its physical and digital retail partners. McLain also oversees the membership service Disney Movie Club and this year she played an essential role in developing the company’s 4K UHD premium for- mat expansion plans. She recently led product management and distribution strategy for Cars 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. At present, McLain and her team are spearheading in-home release plans for the Walt Disney Signature Col- lection release of Lady and the Tramp next year.


JOHN MIGLIACCI

EVP, DIGITAL ACCOUNTS, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Migliacci leads the teams responsible for driving digital account performance at the studio and advancing the home entertainment division’s key strategic initiatives across domestic digital and global OTT partners. He is focused on driving digital growth through broad accessibility on all screens, premium and immersive features that are unique to digital ownership, and consistent and frictionless experiences for consumers. In his current role, Migliacci emphasizes the importance of carefully considering the priorities and assets of partners when developing digital growth strategies. This year, Migliacci has increased global digital growth through the exploitation of new formats, leveraging a broader digital ownership footprint and working with key partners to find creative ways to reach new customers. Migliacci previously served as VP of international licensing, PPV, VOD and electronic sellthrough.


CHRIS NAGELSON

VP, ENTERTAINMENT PROPERTY MERCHANDISING, WALMART
Nagelson oversees the media and entertainment business for Walmart. He is responsible for developing merchandising strategies, managing supplier relationships and aligning operations for Walmart stores. Nagelson worked with Roku to make Walmart the exclusive distributor of the streaming media device manufacturer’s entry-level $29.99 Express device upon its launch in October. Consumers also received a $10 credit toward movie rental/purchases at Walmart-owned Vudu.com. Nagelson continues to spearhead Walmart’s weekly exclusives on packaged-media releases, including legacy Black Friday specials on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray titles.


CHRIS OLDRE

EVP, PAY-TELEVISION, DIGITAL, CANADA AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION, DISNEY/ABC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION
Oldre 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 distribution strategy, working in conjunction with the company’s global sales teams. Disney’s compelling slate of in-home titles have consistently risen to the top of the digital sales charts under Oldre’s purview this year, and he and his team played a pivotal role in the successful U.S. launch of Movies Anywhere. Oldre is also responsible for securing digital licensing opportunities for the company’s vast pipeline of television assets. In addition, he manages the Canadian rights to all television content produced by the company across multiple broadcasters and platforms, and this year he negotiated a comprehensive multiyear deal with Corus for the exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the “Star Wars” films.


JIM PACKER

PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE TV AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, LIONSGATE
As head of Lionsgate’s global television distribution operations and architect of many of the company’s digital initiatives, Packer directs strategies for capitalizing on evolving distribution opportunities. He oversees the worldwide distribution of Lionsgate’s television roster of nearly 90 television shows on 40 different networks. In addition, he 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. He spearheads the licensing of Lionsgate’s feature film slate to television, on-demand and digital platforms around the world. During his tenure, Lionsgate has become an industry leader in VOD- to-box office and digital-to-box office conversion rates. With the integration of Starz, Lionsgate’s home entertainment operations have become a global powerhouse with a 12% market share and distribution of six of the past year’s nine best picture Oscar nominees.


BRIAN ROBERTS

CHAIRMAN AND CEO, COMCAST
Roberts shocked the pay-TV universe in 2016 by publicly embracing longtime business foes Netflix and YouTube, offering Xfinity X1 set-top subscribers direct access to the SVOD and social media pioneers. Now more than 30% of X1 subs stream Netflix. “That’s an incredible take rate for something [Netflix] barely advertised,” Roberts said. Xfinity subscribers can now browse Netflix 4K movies and TV shows alongside live, on-demand, DVR and Web programming.


ADAM ROCKMORE

CMO/HEAD OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, FANDANGO
A veteran broadcast and digital media marketer/strategist, Rockmore is responsible for shaping the Fandango portfolio of digital brands, including its premium digital video service FandangoNow. Rockmore oversees programming, membership and marketing strategies around the total moviegoing experience — from movie discovery, planning and decision-making to ticketing, in-theater engagement and home entertainment. Rockmore also oversees all marketing functions for the company, including advertising, promotions, direct-to-consumer marketing and events, and builds innovative marketing solutions for exhibitors, studios and partners. Prior to joining Fandango, Rockmore served as a senior marketing executive for many years at ABC, most recently as the SVP of marketing for ABC Daytime and SOAPnet. Rockmore is on the board of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.


RON SANDERS

PRESIDENT, WARNER BROS. WORLDWIDE HOME ENTERTAINMENT DISTRIBUTION
Sanders is in charge of the world’s largest distributor of home entertainment product to consumers. Under his tenure, 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 cut his teeth in the business during the Warren Lieberfarb years, an 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 as that business took off and then was sent to London as managing director of the United Kingdom and Ireland divisions. Then 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, 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. In addition to home entertainment and games, Sanders jointly oversees the company’s expansive international theatrical local-language production business.


TED SARANDOS

CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, NETFLIX
With a $7 billion war chest, Sarandos convinced TV show hitmaker Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder”) to move her Shondaland production company to Netflix. The executive also hired Scott Stuber, producer of the “Ted” movie franchise, Patriots Day, Free State of Jones, Central Intelligence, Office Christmas Party and A Million Ways to Die in the West, among others, to run Netflix’s movie production department. Indeed, Netflix plans to release more movies (80) in 2018 than the other major studios combined. Individual title budgets range from $1 million to more than $100 million for David Ayer’s sci-fi thriller Bright, starring Will Smith.


RON SCHWARTZ

PRESIDENT, HOME ENTERTAINMENT, LIONSGATE
Schwartz runs Lionsgate’s $1 billion-a-year worldwide home entertainment operations and is responsible for managing one of the most prolific and prestigious home entertainment libraries in the industry, comprised of more than 16,000 motion picture and television titles. He crafts the marketing strategies of Lionsgate’s home entertainment group worldwide and 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. With the December 2016 acquisition of Starz, Lionsgate’s home entertainment operations now rank among the industry leaders with over 12% market share, distributing six of the past year’s nine best picture Academy Award nominees. Schwartz is also a key member of the team that acquires films, in conjunction with sister company Roadside Attractions, for Lionsgate’s specialty theatrical business.


JOEL STILLERMAN

CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, HULU
Hired in May to the newly created position, Stillerman upped Hulu’s comedy portfolio, acquiring streaming rights to all 194 episodes of Emmy-winning sitcom “Will & Grace.” Stillerman previously headed original content production at AMC Networks, including overseeing production of “The Walking Dead,” “Hell on Wheels,” “Better Call Saul,” “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Night Manager,” among other series.


MAN JIT SINGH

PRESIDENT, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Singh is one of the home entertainment sector’s key visionaries, a strategic thinker who spends much of his time figuring out what’s ahead — 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. Under his leadership, SPHE has become a leader in innovation and a champion of bridging physical and digital distribution. 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 transformative 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.


AMY JO SMITH

PRESIDENT, DEG: THE DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Smith has led the DEG’s industry-funded efforts to enhance and promote home entertainment since the organization’s inception in 1997. The DEG advocates and promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels supporting the movie, TV, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. The group’s current agenda includes supporting products such as Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and high-resolution audio. Recently, Smith helped launch the DEG’s inaugural Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology.


GALEN SMITH

CEO, REDBOX
Since transitioning from CFO to CEO of Redbox following Apollo Global Management’s $1.6 billion acquisition of the kiosk vendor’s corporate parent in 2016, Smith has added 1,500 kiosks to a nationwide footprint of more than 40,000 kiosks. Galen also spearheaded revamped distribution agreements — and shorter release windows — with several studios, including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Media Distribution and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


BILL SONDHEIM

PRESIDENT, CINEDIGM ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Sondheim became president of CEG when Cinedigm acquired Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment in 2013. Sondheim’s executive experience running several independent studios allowed him to establish strategic relationships at the senior levels of Netflix and Amazon as Cinedigm initially launched OTT services. In addition, his 20-plus years working closely with Christian content producers was the driving factor in developing the Dove Channel, Cinedigm’s fast-growing faith-and-family SVOD offering. Sondheim has also been active in several industry trade groups. Last year DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group created a special permanent board position for independent studios, which Sondheim has held for two consecutive terms. This past year, he was also the co-chairman of the Los Angeles Entertainment Summit, which is presented by the Entertainment Merchants Association.


JASON SPIVAK

EVP, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND NORTH AMERICA SALES, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Spivak is responsible for worldwide distribution of Sony’s film and television properties across all transactional digital channels. He also manages the group responsible for sales of physical discs in North America, and leads SPHE’s digital strategy and product development groups. In the latter capacity he is responsible for driving SPHE’s development of new digital products, and participation in initiatives, such as the recently launched Movies Anywhere service, to enhance the digital consumer experience. Spivak joined SPHE in July 2012 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.


JOHN STANKEY

CEO, AT&T ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Stankey is slated to replace CEO Jeff Bewkes at Time Warner once AT&T’s $84.5 billion acquisition clears regulatory (and political) muster. Stankey is pushing to rejigger content distribution models (via over-the-top video) at Warner Bros., Turner and HBO, including employing real-time data and monetizing library content more effectively. He was also instrumental in the launch of online TV service DirecTV Now.


JEREMY VERBA

GM, VUDU
Verba helped Walmart-owned Vudu enhance its app enabling consumers to use their DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies to access cloud-stored digital versions of the movies through a smartphone or mobile device for a fee. Separately, Verba helped Vudu launch Movies On Us, a free, ad-supported service that offers more than 3,000 high-definition movie titles. “As more and more customers create digital libraries, we are constantly looking for ways to help them unlock additional value from the movies they already own,” Verba said. Vudu also signed on to the digital locker service Movies Anywhere, launched this fall.


SUSAN WOJCICKI

CEO, YOUTUBE
Wojcicki helped the social media juggernaut launch online platform YouTube TV, a $35 service offering live television content from more than 40 TV networks. The SVOD platform comes as global YouTube viewership now streams 1 billion hours of content daily. Wojcicki also licensed the YouTube app to Comcast Cable’s X1 subscribers. “Younger generations want to consume TV the way that they’re used to watching TV online, live and on-demand,” she said.


LEXINE WONG

SENIOR EVP, WORLDWIDE MARKETING, SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Wong drives global marketing strategy for SPHE’s digital and physical distribution businesses across all SPHE film and television properties, including film acquisitions and new technologies. An industry veteran, Wong leads a marketing team focused on consumer engagement, leveraging data analytics and insights across all aspects of marketing. Wong’s innovative campaigns recently catapulted four SPHE films to the top 10 on iTunes in one week, with both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Baby Driver topping digital and physical sales charts in week one. Under Wong’s leadership, SPHE continues to reinvent in the category through new digital offerings, including the multi-studio Movies Anywhere initiative along with expanding opportunities in 4K UHD and virtual reality. With the consistent evolution of the industry, Wong’s mission continues to be zeroing in on the home entertainment super consumer and experimenting with new product and category initiatives.


ANTHONY WOOD

FOUNDER AND CEO, ROKU
Co-founder of the subscription streaming video business model (with Netflix), Wood orchestrated Roku’s IPO, generating more than $200 million. In its first-ever fiscal report, Roku saw revenue increase 40% to $124 million, attributing much of the gain to advertising, revenue-sharing agreements (DirecTV Now, Hulu Live, HBO Now, Sling TV, Showtime, etc.), user subscriptions (16.7 million) and sales of branded Roku TVs.


JIM WUTHRICH

PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAS, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Wuthrich oversees the domestic physical and digital distribution of home entertainment properties for Warner Bros., including video games. He joined Warner Home Video in 1998 as director of marketing and later served as VP of marketing, theatrical new release. He assumed his current role 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 in charge of 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.


PAUL YANOVER

PRESIDENT, FANDANGO
Yanover leads the ultimate digital network that serves consumers throughout the entire movie lifecycle, and spearheaded Fandango’s expansion beyond ticket sales and into home entertainment. Fandango serves more than 60 million online and mobile visitors per month, according to comScore. Its portfolio includes Flixster; Movieclips, the No. 1 movie trailers and content channel on YouTube; Rotten Tomatoes; merchandise marketplace Fandango FanShop; and FandangoNow, a premium on-demand video service. FandangoNow is carried on many platforms including Xbox, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Roku and Chromecast devices. In April 2017, Yanover was recognized by the Entertainment Merchants Association with their EMA Leadership Award for his contributions to the entertainment industry.


JONATHAN ZEPP

HEAD OF YOUTUBE CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS AND GOOGLE PLAY MOVIE & TV PARTNERSHIPS
Zepp expanded Google Play’s presence to more than 100 countries, helped launch YouTube Red in the United States, and partnered with Disney Movies Anywhere to enable Google Play interoperability with iTunes. He was also elected chairman of the Entertainment Merchants Association.
 




UP & COMERS

We’ve acknowledged a select group of Up and Comers who are the leaders of the future, in our industry.


MICHAEL AARONSON

SVP, FILM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Aaronson is responsible for all day-to-day aspects of the company’s domestic film and television products across its electronic sellthrough and VOD businesses, spanning more than 40 retailers. In this position, he manages ongoing partner relationships, marketing strategy and media spend as well as all related product management, operations and business intelligence. Most recently, he played a vital role in the development and launch of Movies Anywhere, the industry’s new digital movie locker application.


MELISSA COBB

VP OF KIDS AND FAMILY, NETFLIX
Newly hired Cobb heads a revamped unit responsible for expanding Netflix’s kids and family content series and event programming, including animation and live- action. Cobb most recently was CCO and head of Oriental DreamWorks, based in Shanghai, China — Netflix’s largest untapped market. Cobb oversaw all aspects of the U.S./China collaboration. She spearheaded animated adventure comedy Everest, slated for global release in 2019 from Universal Pictures.


KATHLEEN GALLAGHER

SVP, DOMESTIC SALES, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Gallagher oversees sales for Universal’s U.S. physical sellthrough and rental businesses. In this role, she also has responsibility for customer marketing and retail strategy, spanning the disciplines of account planning, pricing programs, trade fund management, category management and shopper insights.


BRANDT HAYNES

SVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND HOME ENTERTAINMENT, HBO
Haynes is responsible for establishing distribution and marketing strategies for HBO’s domestic digital subscription and global home entertainment businesses. Haynes joined HBO in 2007 and since 2013 has overseen product management and marketing for the HBO and Cinemax transactional EST and DVD/Blu-ray business in the United States, including the worldwide phenomenon “Game of Thrones.” In 2017, he added oversight of HBO’s digital subscription business, which includes HBO Now and virtual MVPD offerings with Amazon, Hulu and Sony.


HOWARD HSIEH

VP, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PARAMOUNT HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Hsieh focuses on the next wave of immersive entertainment experiences by developing new products based on Paramount’s extensive intellectual property and catalog. From innovative 360-degree videos to interactive augmented and virtual reality home entertainment experiences, Hsieh and his team work to bridge the gap between innovation and audience storytelling. Prior to joining Paramount, he spent many years working at Disney, responsible for developing business plans and marketing strategies around new businesses.


PATRICK KILKELLY

VP, PRODUCTION, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND HOME ENTERTAINMENT, HBO
Kilkelly is the head of operations and partner integration for HBO Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment. Since joining HBO, he has managed the production of HBO’s DVD and Blu-ray products. In 2013, he added oversight of HBO’s EST and TVOD business globally and in 2017 took on an expanded role in the digital subscription space overseeing partner integration for HBO Now and HBO’s SVOD offerings on multiple partner platforms. In this capacity, he manages internal delivery workflows across numerous release windows, languages and territories, and partners with internal engineering and product teams. Kilkelly is on the DEG’s Digital Supply Chain committee, which has the mission to establish new industry standards across all digital fulfillment.


BRANDAN LUCAS

SVP, ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND HOME ENTERTAINMENT, HBO
Lucas oversees partner relationships for HBO’s digital subscription and home entertainment businesses by developing specific programs that drive revenue and engagement. HBO’s partners include Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart and more. Lucas has more than 15 years of industry experience in digital and physical sales. Lucas joined HBO in 2014 and resides in Seattle.


MIKE TAKAC

EVP, SALES, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Takac oversees all licensing, distribution and selling activities for the studio’s film, TV and distributed labels. He is responsible for all global broadband platforms and has domestic purview for cable, satellite, physical and e-commerce retail. He works across the studio to maximize franchises by integrating games, publishing and consumer products into cohesive retail solutions.


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